Tell ’em

What are some of the strangest reactions you’ve had when you’ve told someone your mental health story?

Do you tell people your story? I know plenty who do not, and for good reason: we’re not exactly the most understood people out there.

But see, I like shocking people. I like making them uncomfortable, watching them squirm. And so I often tell my story to strangers, especially if they approach me on the street trying to hit on me. How do I do it? Well, here’s the way it usually goes.

“Hi, I’m Dave, can I ask your name?”

“Hi Dave, I’m Alishia, nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you too. What are you up to today? Any plans for tonight?”

“No real plans, just some relaxation. It’s my day off today.”

“Oh yeah? Where do you work?”

*Insert Cheshire Cat smile in my head*

“I work at a peer respite house.”

“Oh yeah? What’s that?”

“Well, you see we support people who are apart of the county mental health system.”

“That sounds nice. Did you go to school for that?”

“You have to have lived mental health experiences. We do get trained, but we also have to have lived with some mental health challenges ourselves.”

And if that doesn’t make them uncomfortable, if they don’t glance away or squirm or do any of the body language symbols that means I’ve got them by the neck I mention my psychosis. That usually gets them.

What are the benefits and disadvantages to doing this? I don’t see many disadvantages. I of course wouldn’t do this in a professional setting were I applying for some big time job that isn’t mental health related, I’m aware most people have some serious misconceptions of who someone with mental health issues is. But I do it to people I meet or people I’m meeting because I’m not someone who sees my mental health as a disadvantage or something to hide. I see it as something to embrace, something to be fully, wholly comfortable with.

I don’t run down the street screaming I’m crazy, even if that’s what it sounds like. But if the topic comes up in conversation, I casually mention my struggles, and if people struggle with accepting them, that’s not really my problem.

How did I become comfortable with this? I wasn’t in high school. I didn’t like telling people I had anxiety around people because I thought it was a weakness and I didn’t want to expose my weakness for people to play target practice with. I didn’t start getting comfortable until I turned twenty and was forced to tell my boss at the amusement park I was working at so that I could get accommodations. The way he responded was very understanding, and I regret leaving that job without really giving any proper notice.

Sometimes all it takes is one moment in time.

Sometimes all it takes is a little risk.

People will react badly. And if you already know that, you’re already 10 steps ahead of everyone else. And that’s today’s Mental Truth.

Why Writing is Actually the Bane of My Existence.

What a shit title, you must be thinking. And you’d be right, that is a shit title, but I refuse to change it because it is my shit title and I own my shit titles. If I could see you, I’d stick my tongue out at you.

5227758-a-disgusted-girl-giving-a-bratty-expression-toward-the-cameraa-bratty-valley-girl-expressing-towardYou also may be wondering, like smart-asses always wonder, “why are you writing if it’s the bane of your existence?”

<—(How I imagine your face).

Simply because the bane of my existence also happens to be the thing I enjoy the most. Because I, apparently, enjoy suffering. Think about it. If you don’t suffer, you don’t really grow. And if I didn’t suffer as a writer, I wouldn’t grow as a writer. And we all know a stunted writer isn’t really a writer at all, but rather someone who writes.

It’s the bane of my existence because I can never keep things consistent. That was not meant to rhyme, but it did. What I mean is that I’ll take a hiatus for a while, kick myself for taking that hiatus, struggle coming from that hiatus, and then finally breaking through the clouds and pouring my heart into what I do. However, there’s always that looming cloud reminding me: you’re going to fall again. Hey, hey, guess what? *Initiate plummeting to death sounds*

Take this blog, for example. I had a lot of things going for me on this blog. I had consistent readers, consistent followers, I had a nice little fan base and things were moving along quite swimmingly. And then I went crazy and had to take a hiatus and lost all of it. Well, most of it. I lost the rights to the domain because I couldn’t afford it any longer, and I lost consistent readers because who the hell is going to wait almost a year for someone to stop being crazy so they can start writing again? People’s attention spans are NOT that long anymore. Including my own. I can barely pay attention to myself.

My fiction writing suffered. I stop writing short stories, I stopped jotting down ideas for short stories, and what initiated was a complete breakdown of the self. Writing is the bane of my existence because if I don’t do it, I’m at a complete loss. It’s like heroin. Warm, foreboding, deadly, and addicting. I use negative connotations to describe writing because, as you can see, I have a love-hate relationship with it.

not_funWriting isn’t all fun and games, people. Jesus. You can’t just slap down words in any old order you want and call it a piece. I mean, it’s not like I haven’t been doing that for the last 3 years on this blog at all. I totally calculate each word that spears through my fingers.

On a side note, I just bought Schrodinger’s “What Is Life” book, because I barely learned about it yesterday and cannot believe I’ve never heard of it. It should be a good read.

See: attention span = shit.

And that’s another bane of my existence: reading. I love it. I mean, I really love it. I read The World According to Garp in one sitting because I was so enthralled by the story I couldn’t put it down. After that, I picked up a second book and read well into the night. I love reading. But it’s always been hard for me to focus on something like a book, unless it snatches my imagination like The World According to Garp, or I’m on some medication like Effexor that makes me highly focused.

But writing. Oh-ho, fuck writing. I love it, but fuck it. And who’s to say you can’t love what you hate? There’s got to be a reason you hate it, right? Maybe you hate it because you love it. Maybe you hate it because it brings out a side in you that you can never project otherwise. Maybe you hate it because you’re just in a spiteful mood, but really you love it. I don’t know your life, man.

That is why you should embrace what you hate. Embrace your enemies. Embrace that one teacher in school who always picked on you. Mine made me a better writer, even when she called mine shit. Embrace what infuriates you the most, and you may learn the reason it infuriates you is something deep within yourself, something you’ve been ignoring.  And that’s today’s mental truth.