I hate Kanye, He’s Awesome

I have to jump on this bandwagon because I’m hearing a lot of opinions in the mental health social media community (that’s a thing now. Dear Lord.) about Kanye’s recent interview with David Letterman. The interview is on Netflix.

They talked about a few things. Clothes, art, and Kanye’s “church”. I don’t–I won’t comment on whatever all that is about.

Whatever.

When they first get into the mental health stuff, Letterman attempts to sum up Kanye’s bipolar diagnosis in an “easy” and “simple” way. He states “the synapses get fatigued and say ‘we’re not carrying this message anymore'”. I won’t ding Letterman for this, nor Kanye for agreeing with it because neither of them have probably ever read a neurology or psychology textbook in their life. But to make it clear, synapses aren’t getting fatigued. If we could tell you what was happening in any mental health condition, they wouldn’t exist anymore.

Kanye gets to a point where he needs to get something off of his chest. He says there’s a moment he experienced in his treatment that needs to be changed and if any of you have read even just one of my many posts, you’ll know that I smiled largely as I guessed what that experience was.

He explains that in the moment of one of his episodes, he feels hyper paranoid about everything, that everyone is an actor, everything is a conspiracy. I’d say that’s pretty similar to what many of us feel. He says, “you feel everyone wants to kill you and they handcuff you and drug you and put you in the bed and they separate you from everyone you know. Something I’m so happy I experienced myself so I can start by changing that moment.”

He’s talking about forced/coercive treatment, but also about the general vibe when you’re hospitalized. The last time I was taken against my will, no family was allowed to visit me until I was transferred to a different hospital an hour away where no one could come visit me anyway. While in the crisis unit, I continuously called my mother asking what the hospital staff were telling her, because they wouldn’t be honest with me and I didn’t trust anyone. I couldn’t. People were possessed and impostors and unreal and I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t feel that also extended to their family.

Kanye very openly, and rightfully so, regards this as “cruel and primitive” and I agree to an extent. Is it smart to have all ten family members crammed in the hospital with you while you’re crippled by voices and dread? Probably not. But if, for whatever reason, you have just one person you can even remotely trust for two halves of a second, blocking that contact with the outside world only pushes you further in your head. As Kanye said: “This is like a sprained brain, like having a sprained ankle. And if someone has a sprained ankle, you’re not going to push on him more.”

Then, the big controversy comes: the meds.

I figured his opinion wouldn’t be very popular.

He said he has been medication free for eight months. Some of the crowd claps. I would have. Wouldn’t you clap for your friend or parent who was able to come off their blood pressure medication? Do they run the risk of raising it with bad eating habits and lack of exercise just as Kanye runs the risk of being carried away by mania while refusing to take care of his mental health in other ways? Can’t your friend’s blood pressure rise again for no clear reason, just as Kanye’s mania can come unprovoked? Doesn’t your friend run the risk of death just as Kanye theoretically would were he to dip into a serious low? If everyone in the world wants to compare mental health to physical health, then compare it that way too.

But, Kanye is very clear he’s not advocating for everyone to go off their meds. How have people missed this? I have the quote right here, verbatim: “When we clap at the idea of not being on medication–my form of mental health I think is like the luxury version of it. There’s people who can’t function without medication. So I’m not advocating–I’m telling you MY specific story.”

It’s the same thing I tell others. All. The. Time. Yes, I’ve gone off and on meds. Yes, there were times the meds were extremely necessary. And there were times they were a detriment. And for ME, my PERSONAL DECISION was that I have always felt better off medication than on. And I needed to choose: be compliant with meds 100% or leave them alone 100%. It was the on again off again that was torturous.

So even with Kanye stating specifically his personal experience, we think we have the right to tell him what’s better for his body, basically stigmatizing our own. I’ve never once told a mental health peer to go off their meds. But I’ve been told thousands of times by peers to go back on meds. That’s like a religious fanatic: don’t tell me about your atheist or Muslim or Jewish views, but let me tell you about the love of Jesus Christ and why you should accept him into your heart because that’s what’s best for you, that’s what will save your soul.

It’s hard to feel accepted with a mental health diagnosis. It’s even harder when your own people are against you.

Letterman then goes on to explain his own experience with medication and the advances in medication targeting specific areas of the brain (which is just misinformation) and says that medication is what helped him see clearer. Kanye, at some point, reflects that it’s great for him that he found a medication with the least amount of side effects that works for him. That’s the only way to respond. That’s the way I often respond.

My point? Why does Letterman get praise for pushing the efficacy of medication he has proven he doesn’t understand the chemistry of, and Kanye get flack for choosing to go through his mental health journey in a different way? Because medication works for you? Because it’s saved your life and you want to save him too? What if he doesn’t need saving?

This ties into so many topics. Coercion, publication bias, and this idea that we know what’s best, that we have the right to force help on someone.

This isn’t a man in a coma who would never want to sign a DNR. This is a man who is conscious, albeit not in your reality. And that makes you uncomfortable–maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you’ve seen how families can fall apart. Whatever it is. But the point is we must eradicate your discomfort by subduing his experience.

This is coming from someone who recognizes this need to help is innate and out of good intention.

This is also coming from someone who recognizes and has experienced the terror and pain that we go through. This is coming from someone who knows first hand that sitting in two week old dirty clothes, ratty hair, no food while listening and believing voices telling me I’m going to die soon, that I won’t be on this earth anymore, fucking sucks. This is coming from someone who absolutely appreciated the moment medication helped bring me from that. This is also coming from someone who recognizes medication isn’t always a life sentence.

This is coming from someone who understands that you can’t talk to your high blood pressure, but you can talk to your voices. I’d say that’s a pretty big wedge in the whole “mental health should be treated like physical health” argument.

But talking–that’s rarely encouraged in traditional psychiatry. A shame. A lot can come from it.

My point? Don’t stigmatize each other. Don’t act like we as a species have all the answers in the world. Don’t act like anyone really understands the mechanisms of any medication. And don’t thwart someone’s individuality because it clashes with your beliefs.

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

Cookies Will Take Down Corporate

I woke up this morning craving cookies so I got a bag of cookies.

Just stuffed 650 calories down my throat in five minutes. New record.

If I wasn’t already bouncing in my seat, now I’m super-ultra-mega bouncing in my seat.

Fuck yeah!

Went to Rite Aid this morning with my mother, grabbed a bag of cookies and hugged them as I followed her to the back counter where the pharmacist stood. He gave us one of my dad’s new blood pressure medications, but someone had scribbled on the prescription note that the insurance wouldn’t pay for the blood pressure cuff.

Hm.

So let’s analyze this: if it’s one thing I get when I’m full on energy and full on cookies is Anti-Establishment. And usually for good reason. Sometimes I just like poking fun at idiots.

He gets his prescriptions free because he has no income. Hm . . . no income . . . hmmmmmmm . . . so you don’t have to pay for the three hundred dollar pills, but you will need to pay for the one hundred dollar blood pressure monitor out of your 0$ salary.

I guess there’s really nothing to analyze there. I’ll just say . . . there’s a whole other level of stupidity insurance companies are on that there’s no point in ever trying to get to their level. You don’t want to catch their stupid. It’s like the flu. Well, more like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I love that movie.

Anyway, I’m just going to go on Amazon and pay for it. I mean, really. Amazon is going to take over the world one day, if they haven’t already. If I were google, I’d be worried. Amazon is going to start selling google online. You’ll be getting pieces of google delivered to you by drones via two-day Amazon prime. You just wait.

You hear about the guy who got bricks of heroin delivered to the prison yard with a drone? Yep, it’s starting.

That being said, if you want to make some good money really, really fast, I’d say work as an advertiser for a pharmaceutical company. I guess they call them “investigators”.

See, Big Bar Mean Good Happen. Yeah.  Yes Drug=Good. No Drug=Bad.

If you join their advisory board and educate other doctors on some specific drug you could make 1,000-2,000 dollars per talk. Do two a week and you can move out your mom’s basement in a month.

Not to mention you get to go to resorts and get “trained” on how to promote the drug. They give you pre-made powerpoint slides so you don’t ever forget what to talk about. Not to mention you get paid for that as well.

I wonder what happens if you do forget. What if you mention some of the fucked up things about the medication. I bet they have snipers pointed at your forehead from a far and as soon as a word slips out your mouth they make sure no other word will ever again come from your mouth. Then they Men-In-Black the group of doctors in the room with a little silver memory flash thing and it’s like it never happened.

Now, if you’re struggling for grant money, join as an investigator and they’ll sponsor you so the government doesn’t have to. The only catch is that somewhere in your little research you better show their drug works and that the side effects are minimal.

You better.

Could you imagine the kind of hit-men those companies can hire? They’d find you even if you decided to live in a hole in the ground under area 51 with all the alien hostages. You’ll be eating some nice hot Gorbagalogan soup made by Sir FlippyFlop from Pluto and some big pharma jerk will come and blow your head off.

I’m sure Sir FlippyFlop would spit his acid saliva all over the hit-man’s face but who cares, you’re already dead, that won’t make a difference.

You’re better off just performing the TWO CLINICAL TRIALS the FDA requires you do to show the drug is more effective than a placebo. Just grab thirty people or so and, you know, make sure the new antidepressant stops them from killing themselves in the few weeks or so you observe them. That means it works. Legally, it works.

I agree with the M.D who wrote this article: Big Pharma sponsoring their own clinical trials for their own drug is more ignorant than chucking a fish at an oak tree and then shouting over it’s flopping body to climb up the trunk. These people are making BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. They aren’t going to stop just because one of their drugs show unsightly and possibly fatal side effects.

If you don’t have insurance and you go and try and pay for an anti-psychotic, I’m sure you’ll stagger from the price. Now just imagine a thousand of those being sold. A hundred thousand. A million. Think of that profit.

We all know the Paxil studies are being retracted right as you read this, we all know Risperdal has also been under fire for years, but if it’s happening to these two I’d say it’s fair to say it’ll happen to many others in the future.

Yes, I talk a lot of shit about these people because they deserve it. I have nothing against their medications, I have everything against them. If you’re a psych student and want to do a case study on Anti-Social Personality, start doing some research on corporate leaders, you’ll get everything you need. Their charismatic, charming, most often good looking (the young ones) but they won’t show remorse for the people’s lives they’ve screwed over, they won’t think about it either. Their goal will be selfish and they certainly won’t see a problem with it. You’ll swear up and down they’re one of the best people you’ve ever met in your life until you find out how many attempted murder charges they should have on their record.

It doesn’t have to be Big Pharma corporate leaders, pick any corporate leader! They’re all crazy! If the world is going to stigmatize anyone under the label “insane” it needs to be them, not the rest of us.

I’m not focusing on a lot of the good aspects of some companies because there’s no need to romanticize this shit. If you don’t like reading the truth then don’t read it.

It’s never the medication, it’s always the companies. I know when I talk so much shit about all of this people tend to feel attacked, as if I’m looking down at them for ingesting the little money making pills these companies shit out, but it really has nothing to do with the people who take them either. The people who take them are doing so for a reason; either they feel better taking them or their doctors believe they should, or it keeps them in contact with reality. And that’s a good thing.

Doesn’t mean people aren’t lied to about their effectiveness.

Doesn’t mean they don’t use medication withdrawal as an excuse to keep people on the medication. No shit you’re going to feel more depressed (the majority of the time) after you get off an anti-depressant. That doesn’t mean you need the medication to not be depressed. No shit you’re going to (the majority of the time) dive right back into psychosis after an Anti-psychotic. That has to do with your brain readjusting itself. (Doesn’t mean go off your medication, either. I’m just saying, it’s not a surprise these things happen).

Doesn’t mean doctors aren’t brainwashed into selling them. I don’t call them recommendations, I call them sales because that’s what has happened to this industry. Doctors are salesmen.

It doesn’t make any of this your fault. I don’t blame anyone who takes them. I blame the people who make them. I blame the researchers so desperate for grant money that they’re kissing the ass of these companies and putting out bullshit data. And I blame the companies for thinking they could get away with ruining people’s lives and never having to pay for it.

I could sue them for a billion dollars and win the case and not be satisfied. If I had enough power through the courts to expose one of them and utterly destroy their livelihood, I’d be high for months off my own self-satisfaction.

And you know what? I wouldn’t regret a thing.

And don’t give me that “oh, they have families too” bullshit.

Yeah, they also have 30 billion dollars. You won’t be seeing them in the welfare line any time soon.

I don’t know, maybe it’s the cookies talking.