Dependence

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Well, hello, hello, hello.

It’s been a while.

How have you all been? Good? Bad? Horrendous?

I’ve been incredibly busy. Work is picking up and I’m getting a little better at the procedures. The bosses are a little stressed about all the new people still having to be trained and not being fully independent yet, but we’re all managing.

I never imagined to be part of a business at this level before. The thing about having consistent anxiety since before social development (4 yrs old or so), is that we grow up in the position of a dependent. We need constant reassurance before we are comfortable doing something, to the point where it develops into a very timid type of perfectionism. And that, left untouched, develops into procrastination perfectionism: you only do it if you can do it perfectly, and if you can’t do it perfectly well then it necessarily follows that you won’t do it.

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That’s what always gets me about working.

Within the first two months of any job, any volunteer position, I’m ready to give up. The pressure grows. I’m expected to function smoothly on my own and I’m expected to solve problems without the eye of a trainer or partner over my shoulder checking my every move.

I don’t know how I feel about independence. I crave it, I fantasize about it, but whenever it’s placed in my hands I left it slip through my fingers. It’s a painful, repetitive process.

So I want to push myself past the two month mark. I want to fill out my full seasonal position and at least work throughout the summer and then make a decision on whether or not I can continue to handle it. I want to prove to myself that my anxieties and depression will no longer hold me back from doing something I need to or want to. I want to prove that to the staff and to my boyfriend as well, but mostly to myself. Because none of them could know what I go through and how much I push myself just to get along every day.

gahan-wilson-grim-reaperBecause getting back on prescription medication just sounds like I’m signing my death warrant, I’ve decided I’ve got to start doing this naturally. I want to get back on a healthy diet, I want to continue exercising, and in the mean time I’ve taken up Passion Flower. It’s a supplement that works well to calm anxiety, particularly if you take it regularly. It’s non-habit forming, it’s prescription strength (for the majority of people) and it’s . . . well, a flower. It’s literally dried petals in a digestible pill capsule.

What makes me laugh is how health websites stress how dangerous supplements are, how they haven’t been studied extensively, how they could cause bad side effects, and yet they fail  to mention how their prescription medications haven’t been studied as extensively as they tell the public, how they also cause bad side effects and fatal ones like Serotonin Syndrome or Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome.

If they put as much effort into studying synthetic and natural medication as they did lying and turning the medical profession into a business, we’d have cures up the ass by now. 

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That being said, if you don’t know things about grams/milligrams, half lifes, supplements and other such drug related things, I don’t suggest going to your local drug store and picking up a supplement just because I’m sitting here telling you Passion Flower works well for anxiety from my experience so far. Because, as I said, there can be side effects. The only difference is they’re not listed for you on a perfect little slip of pharmacy paper for you to reference.

And for God’s sake, stay away from Kava Kava.

I’m very fond of alternative medicines. I like reading the studies on them, I like doing research on them, and most importantly I enjoy trying them. Passion Flower is my favorite thus far. It acts on GABA: basically it’s a Benzo without the zombie feeling, without the total knock out, without the addiction, without the worry of serious withdrawal after years of use. It slows my mind down just enough to stop the consuming thoughts of work, of school, of how I’m not normal, of this, of that, of blah blah, all those negative thoughts you tell yourself over and over again that you eventually begin to believe.

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I don’t want something to “Stop” my anxiety. I want something that can help me teach myself how to control it. And that, thus far, is what Passion Flower has given me the ability to do. My anxiety is part of me. It might keep me up all night, it might keep me from asking for help in classes, or participating, or even stepping out of my front door, but it’s still part of me. And I treat it with respect because of that fact.

I’m trying to stop being dependent, and as scary as it sounds to me, as much as I want to cry at the thought, I know it’s what’s best. I know I’ll be happier in the end. And part of not being dependent requires I don’t depend on my anxiety to be an excuse for why I can’t do something. I know my limits and I know when my anxiety tries to create new limits, I need to push through them in order to see it was never a limit in the first place. And whatever I have to do to get to that point in my life, I will do. Even if it means swallowing dried flowers that smell like fresh rotting corpse. To me, that’s better than swallowing synthetic chemicals that smell like four year old rotting corpse.

Honesty In The Real World

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This Fucking Guy Will Be In My Nightmares

I’m not a morning person.

Anyone who has had the displeasure and pleasure of knowing me for a few years would be quick to offer up the suggestion that I am a vampire. Cool bro.

So getting up at 9 a.m to be to work at 10:53 can be challenging.

Yes, we have to clock in seven minutes before our scheduled time to arrive because it takes a good four minutes to get through the maze to the room we operate in, then another two minutes or so to put your belongings in the lockers outside, get inside the door, and put your food in the fridge.

The other reasons mornings are challenging are because I don’t get very much time to spread out my anxieties. I’m anxious about the day the moment my eyes open. If I don’t have a decent amount of time to process those feelings, to spread them to every inch of my body to give my brain a fighting chance, than I’m going to have a bad time.

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For that same reason, I’m typically very irritable in the mornings. Most people don’t know this because they don’t live with me. The most outsiders (meaning people not in my apartment) see of me is the composed part of me, the part they mistake for stable and kind and sweet. If they knew the truth, if they saw me when I punched through walls and doors, burned or harmed myself, threatened to kill myself, or screeched every five seconds for the tiny little noises that bother me to the point of no return, they’d probably label me crazy.

So this morning, as I sat in my car in the rain listening to the engine idle down, I was still pushing some anxieties down. I’d taken the last Ativan yesterday for work and now my one time prescription that was supposed to be for bringing me down from panic attacks is gone. Now I’ve got to get a doctor. I’m sure they’ll be more than willing to give me an active prescription.

Although, perhaps something I can pop that’s non-habit forming. The last thing I need is an addiction. And I could see myself falling down that hole easier than you would think. I may have a strong will, but that means practically nothing in my situation.

At any rate, I got a call the second before I put my car into drive that the park was closed and they didn’t need me today.

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That left me with a lot of pent up anxiety and cortisol, so I went for a cycling ride around town. It would have ruined my day if I hadn’t.

Yesterday was very game changing for me. And thoughts of yesterday have consumed my mind today.

I always thought very highly of people with mental health issues who could be so open about themselves when they needed to be. In fact, I admire these people a great deal. It’s one thing to post yourself online to get the support of people you can’t see, it’s another thing to go out into the world where stigma is much more real and in your face and you have to watch your words.

See, we’ve got a nice little pocket here. We’ve all developed a blog-to-blog type friendship/relationship. We all have our struggles and part of the reason we read and support each other is because we know what each of us is going through. We get encouraging words from people who have never dealt with our struggles but who are interested in mental health or just think we’ve written something really touching. Which is nice. But it’s nothing compared to real life.

I wouldn’t go up to a stranger and say: “I think about killing myself very often”, or “I pretty bad have depression” or “sometimes I see spiders crawling along the shower door that apparently no one else sees”.

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I swear to God there was a spider, it was fucking huge and black. I saw it three times, every time I hit the door. I think my mother was the one tripping.

Their reaction most likely won’t be sympathetic, particularly if I keep a monotonous expression along my face as I usually have when I blog.

All the emotion sways to my fingertips when I write.

At any rate, they’re probably going to laugh. Let’s face it. It’s weird to have someone walk up to you and say something completely unexpected. They’re not laughing because they’re assholes, they’re laughing because they’re nervous and confused.

But that’s what we basically do on here. We tell the truth about ourselves in blunt words and those who are understanding and interested comment or like or read. Those who aren’t, generally don’t.

I knew I would have to have the conversation with my boss regarding my hours and my situation. I first prepared my bottom line: I settled with myself how many hours I was willing to work and how many days a week I was willing to work, and I went over in my head a million different ways to explain my brain.

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None of which were even necessary.

I told him why I couldn’t work specific times on days when I have my psychologist appointments and I told him why I even see a psychologist in the first place. I usually get flattened expressions or lack of interest, but he smiled, whether out of sympathy or genuine kindness I didn’t have time to assess.

He immediately asked if the shifts I was working at the moment were too stressful, and I said they would be once I started working on the weekdays. I said I’d prefer to work 5-6 hours at the most, but never 8. I told him I don’t want to go full time, not even in the summer when they need all the hands they can get. I told him I’m most comfortable working 5 days a week.

He agreed to it all. He asked if the environment I work in (there’s no windows or doors, just concrete) gives me anxiety but I said it was the exact opposite because of the fact I see the same faces every shift and there’s only six or seven of us. There are no loud noises (besides the giant tanks and generators outside) and everyone has been really kind to me.

And that’s the truth.

He told me if there was ever a day I felt bad or panicky or this, or that, all I had to do was let one of the leads or managers or himself know (he’s the director) and they could either let me go home early or give me a break, whichever I preferred.

10887luck-cloverI feel particularly lucky. We’re a very small department and we get personalized treatment, we really do. The main floor of the company I work for gets no such treatment. They have hundreds of employees, most of whom are under the age of 18, and things get messy and dramatic. People are over-worked and stressed out often.

We may be short staffed in our department, but at least we’re all in our twenties and thirties. Some are in their forties. No pesky kids to deal with here.

I also feel lucky because I’ve never had good reactions from the people I’ve been honest with. Most people are confused to why my problems are even problems, as if they have the right to claim them as not-problems. Friends in the past just call me crazy, others were condescending. Bosses and teachers I’ve had were always so confrontational that I never felt an ounce of comfort around them, not enough to explain the truth about myself and why I’d need some extra time to chill out.

I may not give two shits about day jobs, I may not care whether I get recognized for this, or that, or promoted or being a good worker (#loseyourintegrity) or whatever people care about, but I do give two shits about the people who work in this department. When I leave, I’m going to remember to thank them. It takes a lot to gain my trust in such a short time. 

A Little Reminder

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

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

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

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

“For fuck sake, I’m tired! 

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

General fucking formula: 2piydS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I’m thankful for many things.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes they’re worth more than anything. 

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

 

Genuine Motives To The Rescue

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Let’s talk.

Why?

There is a very reasonable, very practical, very intelligent reason why I wish to speak with you all.

A very, very intelligent reason:

I just got off work and don’t feel like doing homework.

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Great reason, right? Just agree with me, you’ll live longer.

Anyway, the first thing I do when I get out of work beside thank all the Gods and Cosmic Minds for letting me get out of that hell hole without having something mentally damaging happen is grab my phone.

I don’t check Twitter often, but when I do it’s because I’m bored and letting my car warm up. There was a bunch of stuff in my feed talking about the joke Bernie Sanders made at the democratic debate tonight. That I missed. Because I was too busy being a good little slave.

Just for the record, I’m neither against or for any parties of any political affiliation, I just point out the facts as each side presents them. I could care less to pledge my allegiance and loyalty to anything. 

But Sanders decided it would be a good idea to crack a joke at his opposing team (The Republicans) by saying if he was elected president, he’d make sure a lot of money would go towards mental health. He added that the republicans were the reason why we need to invest in mental health.

My first reaction:

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Because the man isn’t lying. Come on now. Get off your high horse for a second and really, really fucking think about this. 

Trump: the epitome of an egoist. He’s incapable of considering the consequences of his actions/words, and if he does consider them he’s blatantly ignoring that part of his conscience. He has an insatiable need for attention to be on him and he’ll open his mouth to anything for that cause. Are you telling me we don’t have disorders listed in the DSM that are specified towards those who say/do outrageous things for the sake of attention? Whether he’s a spoiled fucking sewer rat with balls the size of peanuts and a brain to match doesn’t matter.

The KKK endorsed him and people outraged over the fact that he didn’t reject them. Why the hell would he? He wants attention, popularity, and endorsements. It doesn’t matter by who, he just wants the numbers and the attention.

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Carson: Another attention seeker for the sake of being watched. I hear so much about these two candidates I honestly have no clue who else is running on the republican side. And they wanted it that way. They wanted to run the show and that’s what they’re doing; everyone is eating of their hand, even me–I’m talking about them. Everyone is.

When I step out of my house, the whisper of someone saying Trumps name slaps me across the face and the whisper of someone saying Carson’s name kicks me in the shin. I mean, come on people, stop this insanity. You should be thanking these two for showing you how half-assed our political system is. I can sum it up in two lines:

“Oh, you have money? Yes, yes, you run, you run good, be good for country! You . . . you have brain? You go . . . you go in dirt or . . .  or something, fuck off.”

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Cut The Shit, Society

Are you telling me their self-centered, egotistical, histrionic, narcissistic, whatever kind of behavior you want to label it as, isn’t listed somewhere in some psychology textbook as a mental health issue? We have a lot of them and they sure like to get thrown around a lot, so why don’t we toss some on the elite groups while we’re at it?

And when I say Elite group, for the love of God I do not mean Charlie Sheen. 

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The main argument against Sanders’ comment was that he’s perpetuating stigma and  portraying those with mental disorders as dangerous.

I don’t know where everyone is getting the dangerous aspect. I felt more like he was calling us idiots rather than dangerous. Carson and Trump and the rest of the morons aren’t a threat to anyone except themselves. Stupidity can explode your mind, did you know that?

Give a personality profile or an MMPI2 or whatever you like to test people with and see how many different “disordered” people you could find in C.E.O positions. And I’m not talking depression, I’m talking Antisocial Personality Disorder. Because there’s a lot of them.

So the problem here isn’t necessarily that Sanders insulted half of the population on Earth. The problem is that we see mental health patients as lower members of society. We see them as low enough to use the entirety of the population as an insult towards stupid people.

bandwagonSo before everyone jumps on the “WTF Sanders” bandwagon, take a step back and look at yourself. Even I’m guilty of having called someone or something ADD or OCD.

Because we’ve attached these bad connotations to mental disorders in general, they get used improperly and inappropriately. Obviously calling someone who keeps their house clean “OCD” doesn’t portray the actual struggles of OCD.

And because we, those of us with mental disorders, have gotten so horribly used to having a negative connotation behind our disorders, we start stigmatizing ourselves. We call ourselves sick and ill and separate ourselves from the rest of the population.

So if people in the spotlight can put us down, and if we put ourselves down . . . how can anyone be confused on why mental health care hasn’t been paid attention to? On why people still use the terms “crazy” and “psychotic” to describe simple things?

If they aren’t going to lift you up, and you aren’t going to lift you up then you better get used to the fucking pits of hell because no one else is going to come to your rescue. 

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Yes, I struggle. Yes, I’ve done this, I’ve done that, I have depression, I have anxiety disorders, I have insomnia and attention deficits. I’m paranoid (I left my drink in the fridge at work and refused to drink out of it the next day because I’m fairly certain the water wasn’t left at the level I left it at and someone poisoned the fuck out of it) and I have harmless hallucinations (spiders on the door that apparently my mother didn’t see, and I always see the clock as a different time than it is. Don’t trust me with the time. I thought it was 7:11 when it was 6:40. I saw 7:11. Twice. Maybe that’s a code. Guys were installing more cameras today and messing around with the computers, don’t get me started.), self-harm, suicide, yada-fucking-yada, you all know this already! You’ve experienced it one way or another yourself.

But I’ve never once called myself sick. I’m not going to accept a label someone who has never experienced what I have decided to stick on me.

While it’s all well and nice to point out the bullshit society says about us, like Sander’s joke, it’s better that we focus on pumping up our own self-esteem about what we struggle with. How are we supposed to assert ourselves if we’re not even confident and consistent in how we lash back at them?

I’ll run in 2020 against Kanye. Don’t worry, I’ll slice the military industrial complex, defile the army’s budget, and send it into community services. Then I’ll rule the world.

Oh shit. Ignore that last part.

My motives are totally genuine, you guys. Totally.