Career Shameer

It’s 10:44 in the morning. I got off of work two hours ago. I am sleep deprived from the last few days, and quite irritable. That’s the perfect time to belch out a post. Agreed?

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but my best cognitive realizations and abilities are birthed from pure, elegant exhaustion. I did much better in Calculus at eight thirty in the morning after four hours of sleep than I did in an afternoon class after a solid seven and a half hours of sleep the night before. My brain is backwards and I appreciate that.

However, I am at a rather jarring crossroads in my life right now. After the last three years of being in and out of psychiatric hospitals, on and off psychiatric medications, jumping around from (ignorant) diagnosis to diagnosis, gaining weight, losing weight, gaining weight again, in and out of a four year relationship, it’s left my education in shambles.

Most of you know I currently work as a Peer Support worker at a Peer Respite house and if you didn’t know, now you know. Somewhere on this blog I still have the post I put up about my first day of work there. I’ve been there for 2.5 years by this point, the longest job I’ve ever held. I started when I was 20 years old, a month or two away from my 21st birthday that I don’t remember. In my interview I told them I was a Pre-Med student eager for a career in psychiatry to fight the system.

I am now 23, four months away from my 24th birthday.

I’m not quite sure what happened. I was fully invested in my psychology degree and unscathed by the physics and math required for Med-school. I was a little perturbed about chemistry. I can’t balance an equation to save my fucking life. Another fun fact: put a Calculus equation in front of me, or teach me Linear Algebra and I”ll eat it alive. Put a pre-algebra word problem in front of me and I crumble, I disintegrate. As a writer, you think I’d understand what word problems are asking of me. As someone pretty decent at math, you’d think I’d understand how to calculate what’s being asked of me. Both of your assumptions would be horribly, horribly misled. I’m sure you can, then, deduce how well physics went.

My point in all this rambling is I can’t figure out what I want to study in college anymore. My psychology degree is almost complete and I don’t much care for it anymore. Every psychology class I take I no longer take interest in. Perhaps it’s from 1) living the experience of mental health issues and realizing textbook explanations are pale in comparison, 2) understanding the corruption that lies in the mental health industry/business, and 3) from working in the exact opposite environment that I would be working in were I to pursue my original career choice.

Perhaps it’s my stubbornness. I don’t want to answer to Insurance companies. I don’t want to be solicited or bribed by pharmaceutical salesmen offering me money to push certain drugs. I don’t want to have to deny someone my services because their insurance won’t pay for me because they don’t want medication. I don’t want to make that choice for them, it’s not my business. I don’t want to go into private practice and have to charge 300 dollars an hour and limit myself to an elitist group when we’re all very much aware that the people who need the most help are often struggling with housing, substance use, financial issues, as well as their mental health.

I don’t want to work for a county that would allow me to see that population but underpay me significantly and overload me with cases. I don’t want to only be allowed to see those people for 15 minutes when they need so much more time than that. I don’t want to be considered a doctor that only hands out medication. I don’t do well with rules that are illogical and all of the aforementioned happens to be just that.

And yet I feel that to not pursue this would be abandoning my own people. I feel the difference I wish to make can only begin with legitimizing myself, and unfortunately that requires a college degree in this day and age. But if the passion for the classes isn’t there anymore–where does that leave me? I still have a fiery passion for exposing pharmaceutical companies for what they are, for guiding people through their own mental health journey, for offering other opportunities and healing besides medication and hospitalization, but I just can’t handle sitting through these fucking brainwashing classes and pretend to care about what they’re saying.

So do I start over? Do I accept the psychology degree and switch to a different discipline? Do I follow my original plan, which would require a hard science degree? Do I have the confidence for that? Or will word problems best me? Will I make the same mistake, get the degree, and then not want to pursue the discipline? Will I even be able to get the degree? Or do I say fuck school all together and live the rest of my life check to check, roommate to roommate?

I’ve been off all meds for a couple months now. No antipsychotics, no mood stabilizers, no antidepressants, no sleep medication. I’ve 360’d my diet, and now exercise five days a week for an hour and a half. I’m making a lot of changes and it feels like it’s only natural that my career path do the same.

The real problem is i’d love to have a career in physics and a career in peer support. That just doesn’t seem realistic though. Research during the day, peer during the night? Sounds exhaustive.

What’s helped you choose your career path? Are you still searching for something? Are you at a crossroads too?

Self Confidence

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Confidence is key.

At least, that’s what they say. And let’s be honest: how much of what “they” say should we really hold on to?

I think a lot of people struggle with confidence because of the standards set upon them. You should be good at this because you studied this. You should this, you should that. I think a lot of people struggle with confidence because there’s this misconception that being confident means you’ll succeed.

As someone who is thoroughly confident, I know this is not the truth. To be confident does not mean you will succeed, it means you have the ability to accept where you fall short. It means you don’t avoid the hole by risking your life and leaping over it, it means you fall into the hole and manage to climb your way out.

Some people call that resilience, but you can be resilient and stand strong while continuously getting beat into the ground without a chance to get back up. And without the chance to get back up, you start believing you won’t ever get back up. And that doesn’t sound like confidence to me.

To be confident means you know it’s okay to feel bad. To be confident means you know that the struggle is not the end, but a process to birth an outcome. To be confident means you know that outcome, whatever it may be, is just that: an outcome. And once that outcome passes, there will be another chance, in whatever way it presents itself, for you to create a new outcome.

To be confident means you don’t always smile. It means you accept what emotions come when they may, whether they be “appropriate” or not. To be confident means the words placed on your social media meant to provoke you into a rage doesn’t dent your pride, but elicits a laugh because words on a computer screen are like salt tablets thrown into the ocean.

To be confident doesn’t mean you’re strong, and it doesn’t mean you can turn your weaknesses into strengths. Being confident is the act of allowing weakness to simply exist.

To be confident isn’t to be smarter than the person beside you; confidence and arrogance are not synonymous, I’m sorry to say.

All of the above is the reason they say confidence is the key to success. When a wall is presented, those of us who are confident don’t slink in defeat and we don’t majestically leap over the wall with no effort. We stare at the wall and acknowledge it. We say, “okay, this wall is new; let’s see where this takes me”. Then we walk along the wall and feel the wall and see the wall and never ignore it. We let the wall think it controls our fate and we understand that by giving up the power of perfection and standards and the illusion that we can simply climb up the wall without understanding why the wall exists in the first place, we gain even greater power of our outcome.

You don’t need multiple successes for confidence: take it from someone who, in many people’s eyes, including my own, has failed over and over and over and over and over again. And those failures are what keep me going. If I didn’t have those, I wouldn’t be nearly as confident. I would be terrified that one day, at some point in time, my successes or my achievements or my standards would be ripped away in an instant. I would smile all the time so people couldn’t see my terror.

With that, I shall leave you with another excerpt entitled “Prayer For Keeping On”.

Let us find a way to keep it moving, to keep it alive and free, where it wants to be. Let us walk all the way through doubt consistently, to believe in what we have found in our beginnings. Let us know what is real, and let us pass it back and forth between our hands until we are gone from this earth, and even then, let us remain in this spirit, please.

From “Sam Woods, American Healing”.

 

A Slave To The Rhythm.

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As I sit in philosophy this moment, I’m watching a girl in front of me on Twitch or something watching someone play Dark Souls 3 online on her laptop. Professors always say “don’t watch videos while in class, you’ll distract other students” and I never believed them. But I must say, I’ve been pretty well distracted.

The other girl stopped writing notes after we started talking about God, Nietzsche, and how “God is dead” and doesn’t play a role in the development of values. Then we started talking about how man has created values and rules to live by and slave morality in terms of Christianity, religion, and politics, and I think she got offended. As I speak, after a royal argument for reason in terms of asking people “why does God dislike gays?” (in which their best argument is ‘because it’s in the bible’)and “why is murder wrong?”(in which people respond ‘because it is’ or ‘it’s taking a life’), she’s packed up her belongings.

She didn’t laugh when my professor said Beelzebub gets a bad rap. I did. Because it’s true. My professors reasoning is that he’s bold, and chooses what he wants to believe, versus simply complying underneath a slave morality.

The chick just left.

I love it when this professors reminds us how she doesn’t believe premeditated murder is wrong, or that babies aren’t born innocent, or that democracy is a ridiculous concept that is nice in theory but horrendous when implemented by us.

Another guy left too.

A third person just left.

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Even if you don’t believe what’s being said, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a moment to think about it. That flares my “brainwashed” sonar.

Or I’m overthinking this and they had an emergency or a child in which they needed to take care of.

Again, I’ve taken an unannounced absence from this blog on account of an existential crisis. I thought I’d lost my interest in life, my drive for my future, and for a few months there I did–a few months wasted spent wallowing in depression and swallowing self-pity for that fact.

I have not been cured.

But I have realized where I’ve been going wrong and I think when we find ourselves in this situation the best thing to do is take a break from all the things we’ve been trying to force upon ourselves (career related, school related, family related, social-gathering related) and instead engage in perhaps an excessive amount of introspection. So much of our lives are spent wondering where we belong among everyone else, how we can influence others, how we can impress others, how we can fit with others, that it’s easy to lose who we are.

My face has been buried in books, I’ve gone through more jobs than I have friends (not a very stiff competition), and I’m unsatisfied with all of it.

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Some people might suggest I leave college–it’s just not for me.

Some people might suggest finding a job online or finding a night position working by myself.

Some people might suggest I need to suck up my anxiety and depression.

Some people might call me lazy.

But all of that is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is there are several paths to success. There are several definitions of originality. There are several definitions of creativity. There are several million interpretations of it all.

And yours matters not to me.

I’m not someone who has trouble with authority because I’m an anarchist, antisocial personality disordered ‘sociopath’, I’m someone who has trouble with authority because I have trouble with accepting what I’m told is all I’m allowed to accept.

I don’t want power, I want freedom of choice, interpretation, and direction. And as long as my reasons are my own within myself, than I know I’ve broken the title of “slave”.

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I know how often people are iffy of Nietzsche, but I like his non-conventional take on ethics, I always have, and it seems somewhere along the way I’ve forgotten all about it.

College is my hobby. Creativity is my career. It’s always been. Ever since I’ve had to put the majority of my attention on school and leave behind my passions like photo/video editing, writing, and photography, I’ve been more depressed than usual. Even my fantasy world has been dulled. My grades have suffered as a result, which only adds fuel to the fire.

That is why introspection is imperative to success in ourselves. It may have taken me a few months to put my finger on it, but eventually my finger landed there and that’s what’s important.

I now declare college the “eh, might as well” part of my day. That’s where it’s always belonged.

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I now declare the things that make me who I am, the things that embrace my personality, that make me the happiest, that make me aware of how far I can really go in this life if I so choose, will be my main focus. As long as that is in my life, I can make the grades I want, I can focus on what society feels I need to and do so content knowing after I finish this page of homework I can go back to what really matters to me.

No one can decide what is right for you and what isn’t. Values, virtues, vices, rights, and wrongs, they change with time and tide just as our perception of them does because we created them. To tell me “college is the right way to go” could be irrelevant and petty within the next few years. Sure, Nietzsche came to the same conclusion, but pshhh, I knew that when I was 8 years old.

Okay, maybe 11. The point is, I understood that from my position on the tree branch above this world where I spent countless upon countless of silent hours watching you all mosey about your day satisfied on the outside, unsatisfied on the inside, and sitting in the alleyways with the needles and the booze and the pipes and the 9-5’s and the families and all the things you use to distract yourself from yourself.

4414218To be original, to be creative, isn’t going against the grain. It isn’t being an anarchist. It isn’t being racist, it isn’t throwing a bottle at the KKK screaming “it’s 2016!“. It isn’t blindly coming up with an idea no one else has and thinking that’s your best selling point. It isn’t being a toy creator who actually has to think about a selling point. It isn’t about music or art or tattoos because everyone shares the ideas of others.

Being original is taking those ideas, interpreting them, coming to a conclusion, and executing your conclusion. Whether or not you agree with the crowd or you don’t agree with the crowd is irrelevant: what matters is you made the decision.

It’s not about “doing what you want” like a rebel. It’s about having solid reason for what you do and the choices you make.

That being said, expect some photographs.

Expect some samples of writing and daily content again.

And most of all, within the next few months, expect a YouTube channel. It’s about time I make use of 2016, don’t you think?

 

 

 

The Lion’s Den

I feel betrayed.

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Iheart and I have been so close for so many years, ever since the app first launched.

And they still play songs like “Twerkit” on my selected stations. Haven’t they learned I prefer anything that isn’t indicative of the generation I live in?

Anyway, I decided to take a shot at an internet radio server because I couldn’t figure out any other way to begin this blog post. I guess I could have just said that. Oh well, I make things much more complicated than they should be.

One thing I have realized, that I’m not entirely proud of, is my tendency to hide behind this persona I’ve created. It makes it shockingly (not shockingly) difficult to express true feelings, true motives, and an honest opinion to people as often as I’d like to.

For example, because there’s always been an expectation over my head to perform at my academic best placed on me by teachers more so than anyone, and eventually myself when I realized they realized I wasn’t a mute moron I’ve always tried to play myself off as if I have everything together.

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I minimize the mental stress I feel when speaking of it.

I minimize amount I struggle in certain subjects when speaking of it.

My perfectionism requires I do whatever necessary to keep order on the outside. I must not show a single crack, a single crease or leak to the world lest I am prepared to deal with someone thinking less of me and me thinking less of myself.

It’s my anxiety speaking more than anyone. I think it takes a long time for people to dig deep into themselves and not only recognize but understand that a lot of the time the pressure placed on them is stemming from their own mind. It’s easy to feel the whole world on your shoulders and not realize you’re the one holding it there.

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So I try to remind myself a B on a test does not spell out DEATH. Death doesn’t even start with a ‘b’, unless I’ve been spelling it wrong all my life which, let’s face it, I would never do.

Of course, someone was speaking to me through the lights tonight, I swear. The car on the street had it’s parking lights flash in a Morse code fashion and when I passed no one was locking it or in it or anywhere near it. Then the light at Walgreens right above my car, the ones that never falter, did the same. I’m telling you, it’s a sign.

But I digress. Of course I do, it’s me, I’ll always say some dumb shit in the middle of my post and interrupt eloquent language with a sailor’s mouth. 

I also try to remind myself it’s okay to say what you feel, or what you think you feel. It helps people relate to you. If it’s one thing I have trouble with, it’s connecting with other human beings on a human level. You can probably tell. Perhaps that’s because the person they speak to the majority of the time is just a manikin constructed with life-like features to fool them.

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And then other times I wonder how my ability to switch between a human and a manikin will help me in the future, career wise.

My brain is often more aggressive than my anxiety can handle. Therefore I strive for the best in everything. I make competition between me and someone when there shouldn’t be, and when they don’t know I’ve made one. 

If they get praised for their writing, I make it a goal to get praised more often. When I do succeed (I’ve won an essay competition at my college this semester with a 9 page essay I wrote in six hours) my anxiety keeps me from reaping the benefits. They want me to read it at a ceremony and network myself among other writers and college executives.

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Firstly, it’s nine damn pages. They said I could just read a passage but lets be honest here guys, I wrote the thing in six hours and I understand people are often impressed with my formal writing but I was not impressed with it. In fact, I felt it was one of the worst essays I’d ever written.

Secondly, I fucking suck at socializing. And I really suck at speaking in front of huge groups. I thank them for the recognition but I’m just not ready for that.

One of my past professors has pushed another one of my essays into yet another competition. I’m not arrogant about winning, but I feel I have good chances to win that one as well.

Yes, they pay you.

Why get a Bachelor’s when you can get an M.D? That’s my mindset. 

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I always feel the need to 1-up someone and it’s not healthy. It’s not healthy because if I don’t succeed in such a task, I spiral into a soup of self loathing.

It’s part of the reason I enjoy movies like “City of God”. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about some slums in Brazil in the seventies. It’s about cocaine, power, and if you know anything about philosophy, a lot of philosophy.

It starts off describing a trio of slum teenagers and children, some of which rob and loot and deal drugs. They get money to help their families who often refuse to accept dirty money.

But there’s one kid who stands out from all the others without standing out and as a child full of ideas who is sick of not being recognized by the older “hoods”, tricks the trio and sprays a reign of death through a hotel brothel. He shoots ’em point blank. He’s a brutal child.

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But eventually he rises to the top because it’s all he’s been focused on. He finds ways to overpower everyone, he runs his slums by particular rules and regulations and although everyone bows at his mercy, they are at a type of peace for once.

He falls prey to the arrogance that partners with power and the arrogance is his downfall. I want to experience his success, his power, without the downfall and the only way to do that is to slither to the top without burning people along the way. I’m not out to hurt people (physically or mentally) and I’m not out to show off. I don’t want to be respected because of a title, because I’m a manager or an executive or a bestselling author or essayist, I want to be respected for the actions and the message I spread.

Often to get into those positions you sacrifice your integrity. You sacrifice your morals for the position, for the gold that comes with the position, and you don’t realize what you’ve done until you’re falling flat on your ass.

atm-machine-scramble-1This is why I’ve always loved Kant: we’re rational creatures. We don’t want to be treated as someone with instrumental value–in other words, we don’t want to be treated like objects, like tools, like an ATM machine. It’s not just about treating others with respect, or the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would want done to yourself), it’s also about having self respect. If you let yourself be used, you’re behaving unethically. 

I lived by that motto before I even knew how to spell Kant. It’s why, no matter how bad my anxiety is, no matter how far my depression knocks me down, I’ve always refused to let myself be run over or treated badly. It’s why I could build up the courage over my social anxiety to speak to my boss about my accommodations.

Once you’re in the professional realm, there’s no room for being a piece of raw meat. You’re in the lions den.

 

 

Life Goals

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We all have our signs.

We all know when we’re slipping a little bit into that dark hole, whether it be a slight change in mood or sparks of panic at the slightest noise or a whisper in our head and there or something scurry int he corner of our eyes. Although we can’t predict the intensity, we can sense the way it falls into a predator stance, stealth it’s way through the overgrowth of weeds, and keeps its eye on our fragile frame drinking innocently at the water hole.

Sometimes it feels like we’re at the mercy of fate. 

Speaking from personal experience, and now that I think about it, my depression has never been much of a touch and go kind of thing. Some people have periods where they go through year long depressive episodes and then come out of it and live their life for a while before it hits them again.

I’ve noticed I’m either horribly depressed and on the verge of suicide, or mildly depressed–not enough to fully impair my functioning but enough to make functioning difficult, enough to make me aware of it, enough to where if some trigger came pouncing along I’d fall helpless back into the pit.

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I often say positive things. It’s how I keep myself out of that hole and even though it’s something I have to work on everyday, it keeps me in school (barely) and it keeps me alive. But being positive all the time is creepy. It’s fucking weird. You know those people who walk around with The Joker smiles on their face and laugh at every joke you tell and always dress nice and drive nice cars or ride nice bikes and wear nice shoes and always know the latest style Kim K rocked . . . or, most recently, her nude line she seems to be rockin’.

Those people scare me. What are they hiding from? I’d rather be sobbing in the corner fighting against the beast in my head than acting like he isn’t there.

Everyone is tormented by something. Perhaps not to the same extent, but something is always going to go wrong. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t realize when things are going right.

quote-you-may-proclaim-good-sirs-your-fine-philosophy-but-till-you-feed-us-right-and-wrong-can-wait-bertolt-brecht-213084Then, you know, there’s the whole philosophical argument asking what right and wrong even mean, but we won’t go there. And whatever you do, please do not comment below that right and wrong are entirely subjective and only an individual can decide what is right and wrong for them. Because then you make it alright for someone who thinks it’s right to torture babies to torture babies and I don’t think you want that guilt on your shoulders.

We all have out way of handling things too. Some people read, some people exercise, some people do homework (which I should have done), and some people immerse themselves in things that usually make them happy but really only lift their mood for a brief period. I have a tendency to do that. So today, since my morning class was cancelled, I spent a totally of eleven hours on the computer dicking around on the internet. As you can see, it’s eleven hours and counting.

Because that’s my new drug.

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I remember one Heroin addict explaining that all the problems that were the cause of his issues never went away when he used, they were still in the back of his head, he just didn’t care. It was easier to ignore them, easier to not give two shits that his life was falling apart. I use the internet to the same extent: everything that I should be doing is in the back of my head but I just can’t bring myself to tackle them. So instead I watch countless hours of comedy videos hoping the laughter will stimulate a natural dose of dopamine.

Sometimes I have the arrogance level of an early Kanye West. Sometimes that’s what keeps me afloat: the more I act like I’m the shit, the less likely I am to call myself a piece of shit. I try not to let that arrogance influence how I speak to people but I’m pretty sure it has before.

I’m a work in progress.

anchorman-ron-burgundySometimes you need that faux confidence to take you where you need to be. Kanye West is as famous as he is today because of it. You can be the judge of whether that’s good or bad, but the point is he made it because he refused not to make it. And whether or not he actually believed in himself as much as he made it seem like he did is up for questioning. When Dave Chappelle first met him in the studio of The Chappelle Show and Kanye received a phone call, Chappelle recalls him saying something along the lines of “No, I can’t go, I’m at the Chappelle show watching clips no one has seen before.” There was a pause and Kanye said blatantly “cause my life is dope and I do dope shit”. And then hung up.

It’s one thing to let that mindset carry you to “success”, it’s another to let it go unmanageable to the point where you start tweeting things like “Ima fix wolves”.

Or

“You build up one school in Africa and think you fixin’ the country; if you’re going to help anyone . . . help me . . . “

Or

“Mark Zuckerberg, invest in Kanye West Ideas”. 

tumblr_n0y460ugyg1rwcfrqo3_500First, what the fuck is wrong with wolves? Are they broken? How does he intend to fix them? Do they want to be fixed? What kind of dope is Kanye on these days?

I used to envy his ego because it pulled him to the top so quickly. I’m not looking to be a power-hungry, attention-whore superstar, I just want to be successful at I want to do with my life and I can see there are several ways to go about this. I also see that I think more than I do and I believe this contributes a lot to my depression.

But if I didn’t have as much anxiety as I do, I’d be doing a lot more than I’d be thinking.

There’s got to be some way to balance this all out. I have my eyes set on my goals and while Kanye is busy fixing all the broken wolves of the world, I’m going to build up a true confidence and a healthy level of arrogance (I believe there is such a thing). I know I’m determined to share my story with the world and create a legacy for myself that, if I’m lucky, can influence at least one person on this earth.

If I could stop one person from pulling the trigger or help one person reestablish the life they want, than I’ll have done my job.

If you were a close friend of mine, you would know one of my most infamous come-backs to people who get taken back by the words I say is “I wasn’t put on this earth to be nice”.

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Sometimes they misconstrue the meaning of that. I certainly wasn’t put on this earth to be nice, I believe that whole-heartedly. Because being a “yes man”, being someone who just says “well that’s how it is I guess” isn’t my personality. It’s part of my anxiety, but never my personality.

To me being supportive to someone isn’t being nice, it’s being humane. It’s being normal, if I were ever to define normal.

I’d much rather be the reason they say “I love life” than be stuck asking myself “what if” as I watch them get lowered into the ground.

Because it’s never really been done for me, I want to do it for others. That’s my reward for having made it through as much as I have. 

The Promiseland

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How/where would I be if I did not tussle with my mental health?

It’s a question I’m sure many of us have asked ourselves.

What kind of job would I work if I could hold a job?

What kind of people would I meet if I understood conversation?

What activities would I take part in during the day if I weren’t spending the majority of my effort swinging my feet to the floor and getting into the shower in the midst of negative thoughts?

How many more classes would I be done with if my social anxiety didn’t take the reins on my decisions?

For all the days I wasted with suicidal ideation and self-harming, would those days have been replaced with something positive?

How much sleep would I get without health anxiety, paranoia, and intrusive thoughts?

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I think those are relevant questions for many of us, regardless of diagnosis differences. 

Whenever I start pitying myself, these are the types of questions that swirl in my consciousness, and although they appear to be questions which harbor negative answers and negative ideation, I’m a logical mind highly capable of understanding there are two sides to everything. If there is a negative answer to a question, there is also a positive answer.

If there is a north pole, there is a south pole.

If the sun rises, it’s also going to set.

If you die in a video game, your life will restart. Don’t believe me? Play Bloodborne and rage your life away.

One person’s death may spark life in another.

90% of the situations I can bring to my consciousness at the moment have their positive and negative opposites because life is about balance. We ride the plank high and low and trample over each other in attempts to get as close to the center as possible.

how_to_balance-600x337You’re never going to reach a perfect center; it’s not logical. Our physical life is much too randomized for you to be in perfect harmony 100% of the time. I accepted that many years ago. It teaches you to cherish the moments in which harmony and happiness do exist, but to not cherish it in a way that indicates you’ll never feel those feelings again. Life has a haphazard way of imitating circular patterns and yet veering off at the most inconvenient times into the unknown. It’s like it watches your every move and plans a silent attack.

The harrowing thing about depression, anxiety, and many other unbalanced responses to the world are that they are both necessary and disabling.

The brain is a prime example of the center of a beam. It thrives on balance and moderation. If your electrical activity flies off the handle, you very well may end up with a seizure.

It adapts to new situations. If you’re a cab driver, your hippocampus will shrink in the front and grow larger in the back to hold street and navigation memory.

It has little hiccups though, it’s not entirely centered. Nothing can be, remember? You can hear voices without ever having Schizophrenia. You can feel immense sadness for a few months and never develop a depressive disorder. You can have bad mood swings that aren’t indicative of a Bipolar disorder or Borderline PD.

self-evaluationmarking-set-of-three-faces-stamper-with-storage-box-classmatesWhat are mental health disorders? They’re not solely chemical imbalances. They’re not brain abnormalities. They’re not a reason to hate yourself. They may be disorders–because we label them as such–but they are also  unbalanced humanity. Many of them are normal reactions to simply existing as living beings, and we label them abnormal because the reactions are either above the average person’s reaction level, or below.

I can remember feeling anxiety and uncomfortable outside or around loud noises the strongest around the age of 4, or 5, so although I’m only 20, I’ve dealt with it for many years and I’ve had the opportunity to attend mental health conventions with professionals and interact in other settings with people who label themselves sick, who label themselves broken, who label themselves “uncurable”.

And I decided years ago I don’t want to be one of those people. What am I going to cure? My humanity? How the fuck am I going to do that?

My anxiety wasn’t solely birthed through some trauma or bullying as a child, like it is for many, mine was just there. And the further I coursed through life, the more the symptoms accentuated and tuned me to the frequency of the wreck I am today. While most people get nervous doing, say, a public speaking event, and they sweat and practice for hours in front of the mirror, I’m worrying of it a year before I have to do it.

I did that my freshman year in high school over a two minute presentation we were told we wouldn’t have to worry about until the end of the year.

38f7b400-47f4-0133-0a83-0e76e5725d9dI’ll ruminate over what could happen and will happen and when I get in front of people my Amygdala is “hijacked” and I forget every word I also spent hours practicing for. I read into the expressions of the people around me and see pure hatred and disrespect, negativity, I see it plain as day, even though it’s not there. It’s like a hallucination: only I can see it and when I ask other people if it’s there, they say no and look at me like I just tore up a winning jackpot lottery ticket. Then I spend years reminding myself how stupid I looked and sounded and how many people still laugh about it every day.

That is a normal response accentuated. That is this “disorder”.

I understand fully the breakthroughs of neuroscience and research psychiatry, I’m all over those articles the second they come out in the journals. And I understand there is a lot of validity behind chemical changes and differences. My problem is with categorizing a myriad of humanly differences into one, abnormal category. My problem is with soley blaming our chemicals, our bodies, for symptoms of something we call “disorders” when in reality life is full of reasons for why people act the way they do. Yes, medication helps even out those who jump between the severely manic and severely depressed. But don’t forget Cognitive Therapy helps them learn their triggers and how to cope with stress; how you think influences your behavior, whether you’re disordered or not.

Genes play a part. Chemicals play a part. Cells play a part. Environment plays a part. Society and Religion plays a part. Why do you think people in certain places of India hear voices that recite positive words day after day, have voices that claim they are “God” who tell them “hey, good job on that” and here in the western part of the world, voices heard often much more violent?

Our brains respond heavily to the environment we’re in, regardless of genes or predisposition. I wish I had the source of that article, but it’s been a few years since I’ve read it.

If you’re wondering, yes, I do think many (NOT ALL) people are misdiagnosed and I think many disorders being added to the DSM year after year are starting to diagnose normality. 

It’s pretty arrogant, if you ask me, to think something as complicated as human behavior can be summed up with one or two neurotransmitters.

So when I start asking myself those questions from the beginning, I remind myself that part of my “disorders” are just me being human. Yes, I struggle, yes my functioning is impaired by them, yes it’s horrible, yes, blah, blah blah, whatever!

I like myself. I like my personality and I can’t keep comparing my lives to other people’s.

go-like-yourself

It meant the world to me that my boyfriend today acknowledged the fact that it’s okay that I have my anxiety (among other, ha, issues) and that he can see I’m making progress, however small, and that it’s not easy. No one’s ever said something like that to me and for a moment I was in shock. I didn’t actually realize the depths of his words until a few hours ago.

I know I’m not perfect (who is, right?). I know I have things I want to work on and I know I have a personal goal to reach. I know I’m not sick, or stupid, or held back by anyone but myself. So honestly, I don’t care what kind of job I’d have if I didn’t struggle as much as I do. I don’t care who I’d meet or where I’d be, or how fast I’d get through my classes. None of that matters because hypotheticals are useless. I only care who I do meet, what classes I do take, and what kind of job I’ll eventually have.

I could give two shits less about my non-existent twin. She can go be extroverted and whiz through university and work at amazing places by herself. I like where I am and what I’m learning.

Smug Honda Man Will Always Be Smug

Let me start off by saying . . .

It is completely unnecessary for the professors to send out “courtesy” emails reminding us that we are failing. Of course my grade is below a D, I haven’t been to class in a month. If it was an A, I’d be ecstatic. So thank you for insulting my intelligence once more, sir.

Anyway, I agreed to to write two articles for a website on stress management and the effects of stress on the mind and body. I promised it by tomorrow without reminding myself that I have three hours of class tonight. So guess who’ll be sneaking in little sentences here and there while she’s watching a movie in class? This chick.

The more I think about it, the more giddy I get knowing I’ve spent over 80% of this week writing. I think it’s time to put myself back out there. Maybe I’ll start publishing stories again or see what there is available online; whatever it is, I’ll find it. It’s really helped me stay calm this week.

wpid-img_20151112_143306.jpgThat all got thrown out the window this morning because I needed to take my car to get smogged. Ugg, that’s such a pain in the ass. Well, for me it is. I’ve been procrastinating with it because I despise setting foot on unfamiliar ground. I’ve had my car for almost two years now, which is awesome, but I haven’t done a lot of maintenance on it. It’s got a small oil leak somewhere in the valve covers (of which I could probably fix myself if I can find the leak) and it’s got suspension issues. I got the ball joints done but I still need the control arm bushings done.

We always take it to the same shop the previous owner did. I made the mistake of letting my mother come with me one time, mostly because there were a lot of people in the shop and I couldn’t speak under all the stress. She told the dudes to do a maintenance check on it to see what needed to be done.

We all know that’s the last thing you tell a mechanic. They tried telling us my suspension cost would be over two thousand dollars and that they couldn’t do just one section at a time for us.

Little liars. I knew they were lying because I’d researched it before we went.

So we had to go to another small local shop and they did the ball joints for us, just to get rid of some of the brutal metal-scraping-against-metal sound that erupted from my car whenever I went over a bump or turned left.

Anyway, we have to go to a different place to get it smogged, some guy my mom has gone to for the last thirty years. Apparently it’s a custom there to park in front of the garage rather than in a designated spot and leave your car running while you talk to the guys. I . . . I don’t understand that.

I was already on high alert of being surrounded by broken vehicles and rich European cars (BMW, Mercedes) getting dumped in the back of the shop next door because they’d hit 100,000 miles and needed to be tossed out.

That’s a joke.

This Is Also A Joke

But really, there were some really nice, new “luxury” cars getting towed into the lot next to us and I stood beside my waxed, shining, tinted, 99′ dodge laughing at them.

Because I did not park in the designated spot, I looked like an idiot sitting there when the guy told us to park in a spot because there was one woman in front of us with a Nissan that also needed a smog. So I parked in her spot.

Let me just say there were three open spots in the lot, but my mother insisted I park in front of the garage to talk to the guys because “that’s how things are done here”.

Whatever.

So I parked. Some smug dude in black sunglasses pulled up behind me horizontally, left his car running in the middle of the driveway, and went over to talk to the guy with his wife. When it was my turn to get into the lot, this little arrogant prick just stood around staring off into the sun rotting his already pin-head sized brain while I tried maneuvering my car around his. Finally he got the idea before I hit his piece of shit Honda.

He inched forward.

An inch.

At this point my adrenaline is running, my anxiety is blocking my thoughts, and I already considered this day a failure.

He made me park like a crooked asshole in the garage and took my spot. Stupid fucker.

My car passed with flying colors. I guess compared to a Tesla perhaps not, but cut me some slack. This car was 1600 dollars; Tesla’s are 75,000+.

I’ll never forget smug Honda man and his short pudgy wife.

But I did not die; that’s the important thing. I breathed and I pushed through it and now I’m not entirely unfamiliar with that place. Slowly but surely. This morning wasn’t a failure, it was a tiny, tiny success, about the size of the fucking centimeter that asshole moved his car.

I should have just hit it and said oops, you were in my way.

Anyway, success nonetheless. It’s important to compliment yourself when you accomplish something against the odds of your anxiety, even when it’s something small; it builds your confidence.

I’m also aware that I cuss like a sailor. I’ll have to remember that when I’m writing these other two articles. Some people like crude jokes, others want to stay professional, so I suppose I should learn quickly to switch between the two.

Fuck.