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”.

 

To Be Or Not To Be “Disabled”. . . That Is The Question.

How do you respond to failure?

How do you respond to not “doing your best”?

I think these are two questions we have to ask ourselves constantly when dealing with our mental health. How do you respond to feeling “unwell”? How do you respond when you feel your “symptoms” or as I like to say, your mental health experiences, start interfering with your daily, hourly, tasks?

As I am only 21, I feel I am striving to improve on this daily. My current response is “curl in a ball and ignore the world”.

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I’m not sure how far that will take me.

What are your healthy and not so healthy ways of dealing with your struggles?

I’m sure you can guess by reading my “This Is Me” portion of my blog, that my diagnoses have always hopped across the spectrum of “mental disorders” as the DSM calls them, and I’ve never been through enough services or in enough crisis situations to warrant a decent one or two. This creates many problems.

This creates many problems because when you are not labeled, you do not get extra services. You don’t get your tests proctored in other rooms. You don’t get social security (you just hop around from job to job every couple of months hoping something will stick, knowing full well you’re not prepared for anything just yet), and no one believes what you say because a doctor hasn’t signed a little piece of paper.

It’s frustrating. Not to make psychosis seem like a walk in the park, because I know it’s not, but Christ sake, if I was running down the street without any clothes and covering myself in mud so the CIA satellites couldn’t track me anymore, or if I went to the ER and said “the FBI put a chip in my head, they’re recording my conversation, you need to surgically remove this right now” or I went into therapy and said “Every time I read a book Satan removes the words from my head and laughs at me, he follows me everywhere”, I would get some attention. I would get a very strong, and adamant label. Life would be very confusing and it would be hell to be stuck bouncing in and out of that. But I would have a label. 

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The small pile of “magical beliefs” or whatever the hell part of my personality that got me the “possibly, maybe, who-knows” “semi-partial, not really official” diagnosis of Schizotypal PD is not enough to count for anything. They probably messed up on that too: I’m more paranoid about demons following me and people conspiring against me than I am “magical”. Or is that magical too?

Whatever.

And this is where I’ve ended up: arguing back and forth with people over characteristics of myself.

Today I wanted to go to the Accessibility Support Center at my college to hopefully register with them, meet with a DSS (disabled students services) coordinator and be able to get accomodations like tutors and my tests proctored in a different, sound proof room with no people so I could concentrate for once.

Unfortunately, two things stopped me from getting out of my car.

  1. I can’t go places by myself. I drove all the way to campus, stared at the sign and drove off. I’ve never been able to shop for myself or go anywhere by myself. There is one market I can withstand about fifteen minutes from my house by car because it is large and it’s rarely ever packed, at least not during the hours I go. I don’t get my hair cut. I don’t shop for clothes, shoes, or anything I can’t get at that one market. I don’t go into the financial aid office the enrollment office or any office on campus without a friend with me. I can’t even print a piece of paper without someone with me. How the fuck am I going to walk into a place, say hey, I have mental problems, I’m fucking crazy, let me take my tests in a sound proof room please? 
  2. I don’t have a label. I’m walking into a place where quadriplegics, people with learning disabilities, Down Syndrome, severe Autism, e.t.c all go to say “hey, I need this help” and I’m sitting there looking normal, acting normal, without papers or documentation asking for something the person across the counter is going to assume I don’t need. This part is my anxiety of being judged.

You ever have anxiety of being judged as not having a mental struggle? That’s a new one. That’s when you know you’re fucked up. 

dependentFrom where I stand, I am extremely dependent. People go to the store for me. They do laundry for me most of the time (it’s hard for me because the laundry room for the apartment complex is very loud, the washing machines are loud, and if a cricket breaks its leg on the window sill the crack echos off all four walls. It’s just sensory overloading. Not to mention running into other people in there. That’s my nightmare.), they make appointments for me, phone calls for me, e.t.c. Sometimes the depression fatigues me so I can barely put something in the microwave.

You might be thinking what any social security officer or doctor might think: well, you have a job. You went to the interview on your own. You went to the office and did the paperwork on your own. You’ve done your laundry before. You drive.

And I have done all those things. But nothing is ever maintained. Every time I think I’m doing well, I backslide and everything overwhelms my mind. I only work three times a week and I’m already feeling like I can’t handle it. I’m ready to quit again.

I know people say “you can do it, don’t give up!”

Listen. You can’t see the floor on my room. There are crickets crawling around on my computer desk as we speak and I have no idea where they came from. It’s a wonder I haven’t made more attempts on my life with the amount of time I spend thinking about it. My cumulative G.P.A has fallen from a 4.0 to a 3.5, that literally makes me cringe to write. I can’t sleep at night because my heart rate decides to pull a NASCAR and race, I wake up thinking “well, shit” and go to sleep thinking “well, shit”, and today, realizing that I can’t do a simple task to make things easier for me, something for myself, at college has only beaten down my morale once again.

I have to go into work in about twenty minutes. If I make it through this week without banging my head against the wall until I’m unconscious or slitting my wrists vertically, it will be a miracle.

That’s not a joke, I”m a self-harmer.

People need to stop making jokes like that. “Ha, ha, Imma slit my wrist”. How is that funny. I don’t get it.

Anyway.

Yes, I’ll Take The “Get Me Off This Planet” Meal To-Go, Please

I’ll never understand how after so many successes, one tiny fallback feels like an even greater number of failures. Besides the two hours of sleep I got this morning (7-9), I only got another thirty minute nap after I got home from my first class. The first four or five days of this I was alright and it didn’t bother me much, but now it’s turned into straight up insomnia. My eyes are tired, my body aches, and I want sleep, but I can’t find myself to do it. Usually it’s because my mind has too many thoughts going on but now even that is at a minimum. I’m so damn tired my brain actually got tired–that’s some rare shit right there.

But whatever.

My writing gets huge respects at college. My professor wants to give my paper to someone he knows over the hill who would be delighted to read something like that. So I started off the class feeling great (besides the knives in my eyeballs).

Well, almost great. When I walked in the classroom two people were talking and they both stopped when I sat near them. I feel like they know all the things I write about the class in this blog and I feel like they’ve read it and they hate me. I feel like they think I’m some kind of teachers pet or something. I don’t know. But I feel distanced from everyone in that class. I feel like they’re all giving me the cold shoulder because they know what I’ve written.

Which is weird because I never called them dumb in any of these posts, I just said some of their answers and questions were shallow.

Which I guess sounds stupid coming from the fucking mute of the class. Last week I expressed, in my essay, by pure coincidence, to the whole class that I am not a talker. I can’t think when I speak. This week I got called on (not that I mind) but I’m running on two hours of sleep and I already suck ass at expressing myself verbally, especially about poetry. I loved the 90 page poem, but I couldn’t even squeak that tiny, shallow opinion out. All I could say is um . . . I’m pretty tired tonight.

Great going fucking idiot. I mean, out of all the things I could say . . . that’s what I come up with? My mind went completely blank. And the longer I sat there in silence feeling the two chicks next to me staring at me, the harder my heart thumped and the redder my face turned and the tighter my throat constricted and the more blank my mind went, as if I had a time limit to respond and as if my response needed to be something from the Gods lest I wanted them to hang me at the gallows. Which honestly, in the moment, I wouldn’t have cared if they snapped my neck. He said it was okay and that I didn’t have to talk but that just made me feel like even more of an idiot. Now they all know for real that I’m fucking stupid. That’s what that boils down to. I just know they’re thinking “she’s fucking weird dude” or “aw, that’s sad” or “yeah, not so smart now are you?”. Whatever. Mentally I took about fifty steps backwards in that four second interval of stupidity.

I should have written down some points while we were reading. I fucking know that’s what I have to do in these situations; why didn’t I do that? I know I have to be ten steps ahead of everyone to appear to be stepping beside them like a “normal” person would. I know that. I’ve done it before just to avoid looking like a fucking idiot  like I just did tonight.

So I think about that while I sit there and I start feeling guilty for being a good writer and a shitty talker. I feel guilty for being one of the two other people in the class with native decent (one dude isn’t in the class but he stops by every once in a while; he’s a really eloquent speaker and thoughtful) and making us all sound like idiots. I feel like I let every single native person down in the history of life in that four seconds.

So I came to the logical conclusion that I should kill myself.

Now wait–I’m not going to kill myself. But within the minute of that whole ordeal, what I just explained–getting called on, mind going blank, e.t.c, that was my resulting conclusion: kill myself.

How does that even make sense? How do I go from completely blank in the head to suddenly flooding and then feeling like I shouldn’t live anymore because I’m a disgrace and everyone thinks I’m an idiot? I mean, honestly: I’m impressed. I can’t lie. The brain is a mysterious thing.

Obviously If I break down in the middle of class, I would have looked like a fucking crazy person (ha ha fucking ha) and that would have made the whole situation worse, so I kept sucking it back for another forty five minutes until I was in my car and safe from any of their fucking eyes. I breathed, I focused on other things in the surrounding area like the little blinky light on the back of a bicyclists’ bike or the faded tail light of the car in front of me or the ugly green ass street signs, e.t.c. It helped, actually. My mind got pulled away for a while and I gained control of myself.

Until I stopped paying attention to other things and then they all came flooded back and I listened to my brain say “just shoot yourself in the head, that’s what you should do”.

I swear, I’m not thinking these things on purpose. Sometimes they don’t even feel like thoughts–or at least not mine. And it’s never “I should shoot myself” it’s always “you should shoot yourself” as if I’m not the person in my brain giving me those thoughts.

Ehhhhh . . . I don’t like how that sounds: I don’t believe thoughts are being transmitted to me, I’m just saying it feels like the thoughts are not mine. They happen too randomly, that’s the problem. They’ll pop up while I’m in the shower and I’ll literally say “fuck off” out loud to get them to quiet down. Usually happens in the morning. They’ll pop up while I’m sitting in a group or just chilling with my boyfriend or when I’m trying to go to sleep or when I’m watching a YouTube video. Sometimes it happens a lot of times in one day, sometimes it happens once, sometimes it doesn’t happen at all. I don’t know man, I don’t know.

And it’s not always “shoot yourself” or “kill yourself”, sometimes it’s just things like “well, if you weren’t so fucking stupid” or I don’t know, random things. Things I can respond to with either a “shut up”, a “fuck you” or a “shhhhhh”. I don’t know how to explain this, obviously.

I realized I typed “they”. Well, you know how while you’re reading this you hear that little voice of yours in your head reading to you? It sounds like that except it doesn’t sound like the one I think or read in. I think I say “they” because it’s always more than one thought. I don’t know.

None of that interferes with my daily life besides, you know . . . it’s weird when you have to walk down the street shushing yourself and saying “fuck you” out loud. That tends to turn people off. It annoys me obviously but It’s not that big of a deal, honestly. If it was everyday and it kept me from focusing on things, then I’d be worried. As of now it just bugs me when it happens when I’m already having a tough time–that’s when it’s hard.

As of right now, I feel kind of calm. My legs are still bouncing and my heart is still beating a little fast but writing this all out really helped. Just to be clear, I’m not going to shoot myself. I don’t have a gun, remember?

The sad part in all of this? I can’t remember a word of the second half of class, I was so stuck in my head.

Sleep would probably do me well.

The good news in all this? If those fuckers in my class are reading these posts, they now have definitive evidence that I’m crazy.

Rock Bottom

I didn’t go to class this morning.

I have another class in an hour and a half and I don’t think I’ll be making it to that one either.

Last night I felt pretty wired. I couldn’t focus, my thoughts scurried from one thing to another. I didn’t sleep until one thirty and woke up at four am to find my mother standing in the middle of my room wondering whether or not she should wake me up. My father had to go to the hospital after experiencing another suspected TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack; a mini stroke.) He’s had several of these in the past because of his high blood pressure and drinking. Although the TIA subsided by the time the ambulance arrived (as opposed to him trying to open the front door thinking it was the bathroom and then crawling around in circles on the floor) but they took him because I’m sure his blood pressure was in the 200’s, yet another common occurrence. He doesn’t take his medication regularly when he gets into drinking again, that’s one of the main issues.

Anyway, that’s a monthly occurrence in this house hold, I’m just glad I didn’t have to deal with it this time. Usually I’m the one nursing him back after a seizure or calling the ambulance while keeping him from running out into the streets during a TIA or confusion from high blood pressure.

For any addicts out there, he is a prime example of what your body will be like when you’re 56. He’s skinny as hell, rarely eats, has lost the majority of his teeth, has had multiple seizures, enough to destroy his attention span, his mood regulation system, and his short term memory. If you’re having a conversation with him, he’ll forget it’s purpose in thirty seconds. He has high blood pressure, kidney failure, and congestive heart failure. He had a small heart attack about nine years ago, at 47. His eyes are yellow. At one point he was on 13 different medications and fainting every other day. Sometimes he can function, other times he sleeps for days on end. And if a friend offers him a drink (it’s the only way he can get alcohol now) he’ll still take it.

He’s done other drugs in his past, which contributes obviously.

At any rate, my mother left at 4:30 am to go to the hospital. I watched some YouTube videos before I decided I should probably try and get some sleep. So I turned over, faced the wall, and shut my eyes.

I have sleep issues. Not because I wasn’t tired (which is an issue in itself) but because I’ll get stuck in sleep limbo, seeing things that aren’t there, hearing things that aren’t there, and then eventually having some weird ass dream you could probably spend hours interpreting. While I was watching YouTube I kept hearing whispers, incomprehensible ones, of which I am used to and simply brushed off. But when I turned on my side and was balancing between falling asleep and still being awake, I saw these weird flat bugs, like a termite but ten times larger, and some other ants squeezing themselves through the walls in the corner across from my face. They were literally seeping through the wall. I freaked out, turned on my other side, and started watching YouTube again. Then I got paranoid thinking someone was hiding in my closet, a shadow, a demon or some shit (dude I don’t know, my brain is weird) and I freaked out a little more before finally falling asleep.

I had a dream about spiders and ants seeping through all the walls.

I awoke an hour later, pissed off at the world, not tired, and not ready to get back the F I probably got on my Calc test. Okay it was probably a C, maybe a B, but those are both F’s to me.

I wanted to punch the walls and kick down the doors and break the windows and scream and let whatever monster loves to claw so mercilessly at my skull take charge.

Instead, I tried getting ready, I really did. I was telling myself “it’s just class, you can make it through like you always do”.

But I’ve lost a lot of motivation these last two semesters. I’ve considered dropping out. At least until I get myself together. I can’t focus, I can’t guarantee that I can finish any of my work, and I can’t predict my moods. Class is an added stressor I’m not sure my body can take anymore.

I’m sick of faking that I’m alright. That thought kept circulating through my head this morning and I fell into another depression. I still took a shower, I still got myself ready, but I was sitting in my car until 9:18 and my class started at 9:30. It takes at least a half an hour to get to my campus. I just wanted to drive my car off a cliff or speed into another passing car. So I didn’t put the keys in the ignition.

I also couldn’t think straight. My thoughts were all over the place, self-destructive, and uncontrollable. So instead I sat in the car and contacted lifeline.

My boyfriend and my mother found me as a crying mess in my car and my mother asked me if I was okay. I finally, for the first time in my life, told her no.

I hate making people worry about me. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. But I can’t keep this bottled up any longer. I didn’t tell her how suicidal I was, nor did I tell my boyfriend, because I feel like that would scare them more than it scares me. I want them to know that I’m not okay, but I don’t want them to know why.

That’s fucking stupid. Even reading it over, it sounds like a straight up dumbass wrote it.

So I just cried and sat in my car. Went to Rite-Aid with my boyfriend. Chatted with Lifeline. Came home. Laid on my bed for the next four hours and now I’m here, writing about how fucked up I am.

I know I blog about suicide awareness. I talk all these positive things because I don’t want people to experience what I do. I’d rather them get the help, they’re worth it. I’m not and I know that. I’d rather save 100 lives than my own.

That being said, I hope whoever reads this has a wonderful day. You deserve it.