Comfort

I’m not quite sure how I feel today. My psychiatrist asked me how things were going, how my mood was, and I said neutral. I’m not depressed, I’m not joyful, I just am. I feel like I’m in the mode of just existing again. I know it’s the medication.

I also notice a lot of loneliness creeping in. When I’m home at night by myself, at least. It’s as if I constantly need to be around people, and I’m not a people person. In fact, people wear me down too quickly. I dissociate and distance myself from them. But lately I’ve been needing to be around good company, constantly, as if I’m distracting myself from something.

That’s what it feels like. As if all the old emotions that are being brought up in therapy for the first time are riding the waves and the tide is bringing them onto shore. Only the shore is not equipped to handle these kinds of wave breaks, nor what the waves drag in.

I feel that I’m having to relearn who I am, what I believe in, and a good friend pointed out to me that after such a fall, it’s like starting a new relationship with yourself. And in starting a new relationship you need patience, kindness, compassion, and many other things I need to learn to show to myself.

This is going to be a short post today. I just don’t feel like writing about myself tonight, or anyone else for that matter. I miss bits and pieces of the life I had before the psychosis. I miss the old relationship I had with myself, even though the old relationship I had with myself wasn’t healthy. But it was comfortable. And that’s the painful part: losing that comfort.

And that’s today’s mental truth.

 

The Crow Caws

So a recent hallucination of mine has been rather mild but annoying. It’s been a crow speaking to me, and shouting at me, particularly outside of my bedroom window. I also have a running theory that not only are ads following me on my phone and my computer, but they’re following me onto the televisions in the restaurants I’ve been visiting. But that’s a whole other conversation.

Anyway, this “hey” crow has the name “hey”, because that’s the way he gets my attention. Shouting “HEY. HEY. HEY. HEY. HEEEEEY. HEY.” until I acknowledge his presence. I haven’t seen him yet, but for some reason I know it’s a crow. It certainly isn’t a human. Maybe it’s a spirit calling from another realm, I haven’t given that much thought towards it because I knew for sure it was a crow: he always talks from outside up in a tree somewhere. It’s got to be a crow.

I do believe animals speak with us in their own language. I highly doubt they truly know English, but maybe this is a highly evolved crow who happens to have really gained a grasp on human form and language.

I wrote a quick poem about him. It goes something like this:

“Hey!” caws the crow, and I listen,

What wisdom

will he share today?

Will he show how a shadow dances with a mind of its own?

Or remind us how the sunrise ushers in a new spirit for the day?

 

“Hey!” caws the crow, and I listen

to whatever wisdom he shares with me today.

Will he warn me of the passerby–watch your back with that guy–or compliment

my outfit?

Will he watch the passing stars with me

and wonder about infinity?

There’s a lot this crow knows, you see.

 

And while I wonder what he’ll share

I have to remember

and be aware

that it may be fiction

what he wove into his diction

But “hey!” caws the crow,

and I still listen.

 

It’s impulsively penned, and certainly not great, but you get the jist of what I’m trying to say with it, I hope. Check out that poem and more writings on my Booksie account at this link here. 

 

Learning To Live

Recognition is everything.

What I’ve learned through this peer support position is that there’s a difference between “accepting” your “illness” and recognizing the way you think. I would even be daring enough to say that it’s simpler to accept your “sick” than it is to recognize how you think and constantly challenge it.

I do not mean fight it. I do not mean the day to day fight we all endure with anxiety or depression or voices or mood swings. What I mean by constantly challenging it is learning to live with some discomfort.

That’s the line that was in the description of the job position listed online. They didn’t call out for “mentally ill” people. They didn’t request “sick” people. They didn’t request “people who have accepted they are crazy”. They requested for people who have learned to live with some discomfort.

While exercising my right as a student against the financial aid department today, I felt the anger bubbling and the paranoia joining in: I was sure the woman at the counter, the one who I’d had trouble with in the past, was a racist woman who had messed up my account on purpose . I was sure she had entered the wrong information into the system on purpose a month and a half ago when I turned in all my paper work. She wanted to see me squirm. She didn’t like that I wasn’t someone like her, so she didn’t care whether or not I got my money. She wanted to keep me poor like the rest of the non-white, non-hispanic students at my college–all 26 of us.

I stormed out of the office shouting about their B.S. I slammed my car into the wrong gear and sped off down the street. I sent a very discontented email to the heads of the financial aid department and, as I suspected, I was in the right: they’ve fixed all the trouble and I will be getting my money soon.

But while all of this was going down, the woman was in the back of my mind. So was all of the other people in the recent past who I’ve felt were purposefully conspiring against me, whether it be whole organizations, peers and guests at work, students, professors, e.t.c.

It’s one thing to be aware of the paranoia. It’s another thing to sit in a seat, breathe, and realize even if the woman did plot against me, everything worked out in the end. It’s another thing to sit in a seat, breathe, and be okay with the reality my brain created because in the end whether it was real or not, neither truth really mattered. What mattered was the outcome.

I don’t have all the answers. All I can possibly know is what I experience. Perhaps that woman has been conspiring against me this entire semester. Perhaps she does have some hagish vendetta against me: what does that matter? She hasn’t prevented me from doing anything. She hasn’t physically attacked me or telepathically attacked me.

And as my kitten stretches out on my lap and gives me quick little kisses with her tongue on my cheek, her simplicity makes me see how meaningless trivial experiences like this are. The bond we’ve created this last week will outlast any conspiracy against me. It will outlast any anxiety, any depression, and any physical part of life. There’s so much more in the world that we can’t see, that we can’t manipulate with our hands, that we can’t tear down with our words–things in the air, things in the soul, things in the heart, that should be the focus of our lives.

So what if you experience something better or worse than your neighbor. It doesn’t make you better or worse or sick or sane or ill or healthy or wrong or right. All of it just makes you human. Let the bad days exist. You couldn’t possibly know what’s coming tomorrow.

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Andromeda Says Hi.

Andromeda

You all know how I feel about . . .the holiday which shall not be named.

The holiday which is Voldemort to Harry Potter.

I refuse to make a post even remotely mentioning Thanksgiving (besides this brief moment) when Native American burial grounds are being tarnished and pipelines are being strewn across their land against their permission.

Anyhoo, I have had the absolute pleasure, thanks to my psychologist, my boyfriend, and an animal shelter to finally, finally, welcome this little joy into my life:

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She’s a three month old domestic shorthair Tortie. I’ve named her Andromeda.

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Her First Time Hearing A Vacuum In The Other Room.

I got her from an animal shelter. She’s been shuffled between foster homes and shelters three or four times, just within this last month, and was in medical care in the shelter clinic for a week before I got her. They said she was struggling with a UTI. She doesn’t cry when she uses the litter box, nor does she lick herself in the genitals, and she doesn’t seem to be in pain. She does urinate frequently, in small, strained bits. There was apparently blood in her urine so they gave her antibiotics and they said her urine was clear, which was why she was allowed to be up for adoption. As soon as she was stressed out again, it flared back up.

I’ve ordered Uromax, set to be here on Saturday, to help her urinary health until I can get her free vet visit done next week. I can tell she’s frustrated with straining to urinate, because she’s starting to do it in different areas of the house, with blood in it. That’s a problem.

 

The good thing is, since I’ve taken the incentive to research all I can about this urinary issue, what it could be, what it could not be, the risks, and the treatments, I’ve been trying different methods to help ease her struggle. I have urinary tract food that promotes urinary tract health, I’ve put a little dry food in her water (it makes her drink a lot more of it) and the frequency in which she urinates has decreased, the amount she urinates has increased slightly, just enough to make me feel better, and the blood which was worrying me has faded to a super light red tint just within this day.

I’m very familiar with UTI’s of any sort: I must admit I’ve been a victim of it way too frequently. I can also tell, from the things I’ve been reading from vets, that this can be caused by excessive stress and can go away within a week, which is often why it seems antibiotics work when in reality they’ve done nothing.

I will see what her wellness check up at the vet turns up. Since the shelter clinic said her tests showed the rest of her is fine, I’m kind of summing this up to maybe an inflammation of her bladder caused by stress, or by unfortunate conditions of living in a shelter with a bajillion other cats.

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At any rate, she is a happy, crazy, healthy little kitty. She leaps crazy high in the air. She chases after toys faster than I expected, and she’s had a lot of excitement and nervous tension stirring her up with this fifth big change in her small little life.

But, at least she can rest assured that this is her forever home. Regardless of vet visits.

My parents love her. I love her. As we speak, she’s actually calmed down enough to sleep on me as I type. The first night she got here she refused to sleep; she stayed up all night a little scared and running around all over the place. Once her stress level decreases, I’m sure the bathroom part will get a little easier too. She’s still going to a vet (I’m not trusting my mediocre internet skills over someone who has studied animal bodies for a living) but I do know she’s going to be okay even with this little hiccup.

She is an Emotional Support Animal, certified. Her anxiety has made me anxious, and the more I calm myself down, the more she calms down. Now we’re riding each other’s wave lengths finally. She knows I have her best interests at heart, even if all she wants to do is play with that damn fluffy wand on top of that toy.

Animals are healing. So since she’s healing me, I want her to be the healthiest, happiest kitty she could possibly be, and I’m willing to pay off vet bills for four years at ten dollars a month because I’m poor as shit if I have to, just to make sure she’s okay.

Animals are way better than humans in my opinion.

As I typed that, she lifted her head, meowed, and started purring. Yep. She agrees.

What’s Your Story?

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That’s essentially my take on life at this point.

As I write this, I sit with a scratchy throat of which I will throw miniature tantrums over until it is gone.

Thank you all for the 400 followers, that’s more than I could have hoped for in the beginning of this blog. For the new comers, welcome, you don’t know what you signed up for but thanks for signing up.

Anyway, this semester I’m taking a creative writing course. We cover fiction, drama, and poetry  and it’s been an interesting experience thus far.

I know the blog-sphere is full of published writers, non-published writers, want-to-be published writers, want-to-not-be-published writers, writers who are a million times better than I could hope to be, and beginners. So periodically I’d like to share some of the different outlines we use to spark creativity, and I’ll probably share excerpts of my own until people get annoyed with my shitty . . . shit.

My vocabulary is astounding.

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This week, the first week of classes, she had us describe our life in six words. Then, as a twist after we came up with the stupidest things we could have thought of, she decided to let us go home with an assignment of “develop a 250 word ‘Story of your life’, all centered around the six sloppily thrown together words you came up with”.

Everyone else came up with things like “Born and raised in California, Baby” or used words to describe their life like “shy girl, no friends, something, something” (I can’t remember what everyone fucking said).

Me? No, my brain is a magnet for the abstract, so my phrase was “Fire, water, and some more fire”.

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Here is the 250 rough draft I slapped together over these last few minutes:

In the beginning, there was fire.

Fire foretold more fire, but in a foreign language and therefore was incomprehensible. I came into the world with little fight and a naïve sense of security that the fire would soon target, lock, and destroy.  The flame first licked my skin in infancy when my cries of confusion were met only with a discontented “girl, you better shut up!”. The flame encased the house at the discovery of alcohol and narcotics, and scorched my skin with the disadvantages of poverty and eviction. Although the number one antagonist, the flame and I danced our way through life side by side, lost without each other and lonely without the misery of one another.All that flew from my mouth was fire, all that perspired from my pores was lava, and all that my emotions could emulate was the reaction of cesium in water.

Education enticed the flame larger. Written word was my only true form of communication, spoken word a mystery but required nonetheless. Barked phrases of “speak up!” Or “you’re too quiet” haunted my nightmares and I, verbally inept, silenced myself to avoid the struggle of fighting for words in my own mind.

Water doused the edge of the flames at 18 when I saw through the smoke screen that the fire and I were never friends,but parasitic leeches upon one another. Water brought the gentle and fierce understanding fire would always exist, but that the heat could always be lessened.

Now.

First of all, excuse any mistakes, this is a rough draft. A very rough draft.

That is also a very accurate description of my life, however abstract. I wanted to have people read it first before I give my theory on where all of that came from.

From it I gather I’ve described the “fire” part of my life, the unpredictable yet somehow almost predestined drama and anger and pain and stupidity that accompanied me from infancy, the part which I regarded as my best friend, my loyal friend, as a parasite.

I didn’t learn how parasitic until the water came. I represent maturity and growth and selfflowing_over_dam3 realization with water because water knows when it needs to rage downstream or across mountain ridges. It knows when it needs to make itself known. It knows when to remain calm and still and let life carry on around it. It allows us to drink from it and suffer the consequences when we get too greedy. There’s an ancient wisdom about water, I think. It doesn’t flow against any force, not unless that’s what life requires, but it does flow with force, just enough to get it from point A to B.

ca-wild-fire-2-9-15A fire scorches everything it touches, whether the intention to do so is there or not. A small fire is still a fire; the only difference between a small one and a large one is that a large one covers more ground. There’s always an element of loss of control around a fire. It’s not about whether a fire will soak into the carpet or just dry on the wall and evaporate: it will spread wherever it pleases, swallowing everything in its path and leaves only charred remnants behind. That, I attribute, to my volatile attitude of my child-self, of the attitudes around me, of the unfortunate events that always seemed to surround me, and, at one confused point in time, to my mental health status.

I didn’t learn any of those metaphors until I finished writing. That’s the amazing thing about writing: one minute you have nothing and the next minute you have something.

I think this exercise is good for someone struggling to really put the pieces of their life together. I’m really anal about following instructions (you can count if you want, that excerpt is exactly 250 words), but it’s not necessary. I’m personally someone who needs to work on condensing my ideas.

At any rate, like I said, it’s good for anyone who would like to learn more about themselves, or bring together past events that were otherwise difficult to think about. Representing them abstractly seems to have helped me process some things, to show me that what I experienced is also something nature experiences, something we all experience, even animals. For whatever reason, that brings a bit of peace to my mind.

Incongruity Killed The Cat . . . And I Laughed.

You guys.

Incongruent fucking affect. 

A visual representation of my response:

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Because now it all makes sense. It makes sense why people give me the responses they do.

If your outward appearance doesn’t match your inner expression you might as well slap a mask on your face, pin the tail on a donkey and fire your mistress, am I right?

What does any of that mean? I have no idea.

That’s probably the feeling people get when they’re speaking with me and I’m laughing/smiling at something that, outwardly, I probably shouldn’t be. That’s probably the confusion I see on their face when I’m sitting there talking about something horrible that’s happened and I’m not getting the response from them I was hoping. You know, the consolation/it’ll be okay/come here let me take away the pain responses that many people get. Instead I get the “I’m not sure how to respond to this fucking wacko” expression.

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Precisely

I think it’s relatively common for people to hide how they really feel inside. We all have a “nervous laughter”, we all smile thinly and say “I’m fine” when we really want to take a knife to our throat. And I believe sometimes I do that, just like everyone else.

Then there are the times I don’t know I’m doing it and I walk away frustrated because these people were sitting here laughing at my pain–and I never thought to pay attention to the fact that I was also laughing.

On here I probably expressed how frustrated I am that I’m now out ten thousand dollars because of my mistake of not filing for financial aid. It’s something that causes me nightly anxiety and every time I think about it I want to kick myself in the metaphorical ball sack.

It’s something I expressed to someone at my job and after my bi-weekly therapy session today, and the concept of my affect and incongruity surfaced for the first time, I came to the sudden realization why people at my job and people in general get confused on how I really feel about things. Not only do I give cliche answers, some of which I steal verbatim from conversations I eavesdrop on because I don’t really know how to hold a normal conversation, but I’m always smiling. I smile about everything.

Literally. Even the guests at the house have noticed; they come up to me and say “I notice you’re always smiling, that’s really cool”.

“Yeah, someone stabbed my thigh and blew up my car then sent more death threats to my house” *cue smile*.

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At any rate, I understand why they give me confused looks when I say things like “yeah I have to pay my entire way, it really sucks, I’m extremely frustrated” nonchalantly and rather monotonous and then I smile and giggle.

I bring horrible things up and how I feel inside isn’t transferred to my outside. Sometimes on purpose as a protection measure like an average person, the majority of the time not.

Maybe this is the reason people don’t believe my anxiety or depression. Often I don’t show it, even at it’s worst. I don’t talk about it in depth because I don’t know how to verbally describe it, and then I get nervous about judgement and hide it. I have three forces working against me here.

Don’t even get me started on how fucking paranoid I’ve been at the house lately. We all know I have a “thing” about being watched by unseen forces (possibly demonic) all the time, so I relate to the people I’ve talked to who feel like Satan has been stealing their thoughts and won’t let them read a book because he jacks the words from the page or whatever. But after hearing a rather sad and chilling story from a coworker, just in the midst of casual conversation right before I started my overnight shift, things got weird.

Night time is the worst for me at home, at other people’s homes, at work, everywhere.

It got to the point where the chores I needed to handle were impacted by the fact that I couldn’t turn my back towards any entrances. So I had to stand along the wall as I did things–I felt eyes on me at every turn, and it wasn’t my usual “they probably installed cameras in the office to make sure I’m doing my job and then they gossip about it and conspire against me” feeling.

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I couldn’t get the mop from the back because I knew something was waiting outside for me, so I used a sponge and my damn socked foot to mop the floor. Thank God no one was awake, they probably would have been “well fuck, even the workers are loosing it now”.

I closed all the blinds but there were some windows that had no blinds and I was forced to glance in the pitch black expecting something to fly at me. It didn’t help that someone upstairs was pacing all night and laughing. In fact, it worsened my creep factor.

I kept hearing someone knock from the inside of the bathroom door–I was on the outside, it was closed (as it’s also an entrance to a room) and I heard knocks from the inside. So I stayed away from that area of the house.

I got maybe thirty minutes of sleep that night, simply because I passed out from exhaustion.

Last night I hoped the feeling would leave, but it never has who the hell am I kidding. The backyard light kept coming on and off and I kept staring out the window, sweating profusely, wondering who the hell was outside and why this was happening to me. By the time I lay down to get some sleep, there was a knock at the door: one of the guests happens to pace around the house during the night and got locked out.

Well fuck me, right?

This shitty rambling post, I need to get my shit together you guys, fuck me. 

 

The Point Of A Respite House

The majority of what you all have heard about this new job I have is the training we went through.

Tonight I figured I’d let you in on the alternative to a mental hospital. The alternative that is severely underfunded, understaffed, and few and far between.

I took you all through each day of that. In fact, the last post I published on the subject matter of IPS, which you can read here, was noticed by the organization and they published it on their Facebook page.

Somehow they found my identity. I’ll worry about that later. 

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What I think I did not mention, was that it wasn’t so much of a training as it was a chance to experience a different way of connecting with people, a way of personalizing your time with someone, a way to establish mutuality where both people involved learn and grow with each other.

It’s something not prevalent within the mental health system (I.e, Hospitals), I’m sure we can all agree on.

If you’ve read my past blogs, you’re familiar with the fact that I’ve spoken often of, and started this blog on the concept of STIGMA. Particularly the concept of SELF-STIGMA.

The concept of “I’m so sick, I’m broken”.

The concept of “I’m so broken, I can’t be fixed”. 

The concept of “being fixed”. 

Whatever any of that means.

But most importantly, the concept of self-advocacy. The idea that you are both your worst enemy and best friend, and that no one understands you better than you. That if you don’t put the work in, if you don’t take a step back and see what part YOU play in your behavior, your actions, and your thoughts, than nothing is ever going to change, regardless of your diagnosis.

As you know, we often stigmatize ourselves and each other within the mental health community, sometimes more often than those on the outside do. I read a great post on this issue by a fellow blogger over at A Schizoaffective Story, and if you’d like to read his post on this issue, click here. I think he does a wonderful job of being concise but illuminating some of the main struggles of this stigma within the mental health community. I hope he doesn’t mind me linking this post.

This is where a respite house comes in.

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Let me explain how this respite house works.

  1. We do not restrict you. In doing so, we are giving you a lot of freedom and are being vulnerable to manipulation. In that openness, we invite you, tacitly, silently, to also be open. Usually it works. I notice how trained some people are coming from hospitals and the county where they have to ask to do everything: “can I use this dish? Can I color before I go to bed? Can I sit outside to eat?” And being bombarded by these questions saddens me. “Can I color before I go to bed?” 
  2. We are 18+
  3. We are free, via government funding. Small government funding.
  4. We have 6 available beds. 
  5. You can go for a walk whenever you want. You can come and go as you please, as long as you are home at night so you can stay overnight.
  6. We take field trips.
  7. We do not take care of your medication, we do not handle your food, we do not answer the guest phone, we do not treat you like a child. We do not lock you up, medicate you, or shout at you.
  8. Most importantly, for God’s sake, We are your peers. We have been suicidal, we have attempted suicidal, we have been depressed. We have heard voices, we’ve seen hallucinations, we’ve road the roller-coaster of Bipolar, and the sudden terror of PTSD. We’ve had panic attacks, we’ve had anxiety, we’ve struggled with Ritualistic OCD, intrusive thoughts, and serious mental pain. We are NOT clinical. We are not doctors, we are not psychologists, we are not therapists or social workers or counselors. When you tell us you want to kill yourself, we don’t shove a needle in your arm. We don’t pound a diagnosis on your head. We take you out back under the tree where the birds are chirping and we say: “That’s heavy. I’ve been there. What’s been going on?”
  9. We are support. We’re not your parents. We’re not your doctor.
  10. When you ask “what should I do?” We don’t act like we have the answer if we don’t. In fact, we say “I’m still struggling with that. To be honest, I have no clue. But . . .let’s try and do this together”.

What we do is create a community of people. We’ve all struggled, we are all still struggling.

When I interviewed for a job at this place, I was a little off put by the manager. When he read my cover letter (I believe I included the anxiety, depression, and schizotypy), he said we had things in common. He speaks very softly, but packs so much authenticity and meaning into one word I was momentarily dazed. He told me I wasn’t alone and that we were all in this together (something along those lines) and I didn’t know how to respond.

In all honesty, my first thought was “what the fuck is this? You gunna fatten me up and cook me or some shit?”. 

In response to true kindness and understanding, I went on the defense.

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Because that’s not the treatment a lot of us are used to. We’re not used to support. We’re not used to people relating. We’re not used to connection on that level.

We’ve gotten used to the idea of “help” being someone trying to fix us, someone trying to give us the answers to our never ending questions, someone we speak to in order to up our medication dosage and spend 10 minutes asking us how the medication has been acting lately.

And then we wonder why we keep ending up in the same places over and over again.

This concept of a respite house is the future of mental health. This is the direction we need to go. This is what funding needs to go towards. Community, mutuality, support.

Not a traumatizing moment of being smacked onto a bed and strapped at the ankles and wrists.

Not a person of authority to tell you you’re broken, or to reinforce the sense of helplessness you already feel.

We’re here to tell you you’re not alone. We’re here to be vulnerable too: to cry with you and tell you how frightening and uncertain things are. We’re here to be human towards you.

This is the program, alongside IPS, that isn’t talked about. It’s not advertised. It’s not given as an option to many people.

And that needs to change.

 

 

Healthy Obsession

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These last few days were some crazy days.

But everyone could use a crazy day every once in a while, right? These are the days that remind us we’re alive, that we can live, that we have the right to have fun and to push ourselves.

A few of you are aware that I had an interview with a place looking to hire for a peer counselor. It went great: I’ll make sure to tell about it in a later post.

vcw_d_sjose_t4_winchestermysteryhouse_christysharp_1280x642None of you are aware that I took my boyfriend with me to one of California’s registered “haunted houses”, the Winchester Mansion, for their infamous “flashlight tour”, and one of the actresses scared the shit out of my boyfriend. And managed to creep me out just as well. I’ll make sure to tell that in a later post.

But this post I want to be about fun.

We all deserve a little fun in our lives. If you’re anything like me, you struggle to get through the day, to get out of bed in the morning, to make food, to eat even. Days are often the same with the same cycle of thoughts in your head and the same old coping mechanisms are used to try and stop them. Sometimes with success, sometimes in vain.

Some of us struggle to be around others, some of us struggle to be by ourselves, some of us struggle in telling what’s physical reality and what’s mental fantasy. But the point is, we all struggle.

So whether you suffer from anxiety, depression, a personality disorder, bipolar, schizophrenia, Autism, Narcolepsy, whatever: you deserve to have a little good time in your life.

Even if you don’t feel like you deserve it (talking to all you depressives out there; don’t worry, I know the struggle, I’m not calling you out without having experience with it) you deserve it.

You deserve to have a moment you can look back on when times are rough that help you remember happiness exists in the world and in your life even when it doesn’t feel like it.

That’s why I’ve reserved one day out of every year for the last 5 years to go here:

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And tonight was that one night:

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Now, you’re probably thinking why would someone with social anxiety disorder ever go that far out of their comfort zone to attend a concert.

And my answer would be another very important question: Do you know Tech N9ne?

 

 

If you don’t know who Tech is, or Strange Music, than I suggest you climb out from underneath that 100 year old rock you’re under.

I’ve been listening to this guy since I was 11 years old, almost ten years now, and I’ve seen Strange Music get off to a slow start and steadily climb it’s way to the top of the independent charts.

I haven’t been there since the beginning, because I would have only been a few years old. And I haven’t been there since Tech started rapping because I wouldn’t have even been born.

But that being said, I am a very dedicated fan because I enjoy the philosophy behind their business, I enjoy their music, I enjoy that they explore deep concepts and mix in a little “club”, metal, or “ghetto” hip hop in with their tracks every once in a while, and I enjoy that they don’t sound like Lil Wayne, Drake, Trey Songz, Fetty Wap, or any other motherfucker who can’t seem to understand what music actually is, any motherfucker who is a puppet for the company that owns them, their songs, and their life.

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I don’t know where all of you live, but around here we have a little radio station called Kdon. And whenever a “rapper” or a hip-hop “artist” comes on, I can’t tell their voice from the person who got played just before them. Everyone sounds the same, looks the same, acts the same. That goes for pop stars too.

So I’ve clung heavily to Strange Music once I was saw the direction music was heading.

Now, some people might call me obsessed. I have two of their emblems on the back of my car, I have their license plate frame that says “Strange Music, Estb. 2000” (I was born in ’95), I have three of their lanyards, I have their mugs, I have their attire, and I have their keychains. I listen to Ces Cru, Krizz Kaliko, Rittz, MAYDAY, Stevie Stone, and Murs, and have heard at least one song from everyone signed to the label, and I’m getting a Tattoo of the labels symbol:

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There is only one person who I don’t agree with being signed, and that’s this little motherfucker right here:

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I never dis Tech for trying new things, but fuck man, this guy does not fit with the label’s sound at all. He sounds like Trey Songz and Fetty Wap had a mutant baby together that looks like Yelawolf: how does that even work?

The point is, some people say I’m obsessed. And I’m fine with that because this is something that soothes me when I’m angry, that hugs me when I’m sad, that hypes me up when I’m excited, that makes me calm when I’m anxious walking through a crowd or talking to a cashier: it helps me through the little things most people on the outside don’t get to see.

When I’m having a particularly bad day and feel like I need something or someone to understand how I’m feeling, I’ll listen to “Low” or “Alone” or “suicide letters”, when I need someone or something to understand my life with my family and health problems and memory loss I’ll listen to “Meant to Happen” or  “Fear” or “Mama Nem” or “Show Me A God”. When I want to let loose, I’ll listen to “Beautiful Music” or ” Hood Go Crazy” or “Einstein”. When I feel like being sly and gangster-like, I’ll whip out “RedRags” or “Bitch Sickness” or “JellySickle” or “Check ya Temperature” or “Questions”.

There is always a song for one of my moods. And that’s hard to accomplish because I have many of them several times a day.

It’s my comfort and in a way Strange Music saved my life. Going to the concert every year also saves my life. It’s one night for me to scream and act ridiculous and, even though I’m thinking about the 799 other people around me (we have a small club, alright?) I try to force myself not to care. I focus on who is on the stage, on the way it feels to hear a song that you’ve laughed, cried, sung, or smiled to right in your face with so much energy and heat and sweat.

I lose my voice and a lot of my stress.

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The show sells out a month before the concert every year. The lines wrap around a block in both directions: one line is for physical tickets, the other line is for VIP and on-Call. There are mosh pits (as a teenager, my first Strange concert I got thrown across the room and into the wall and my other friend and I must say, I picked myself up and told the guy who was helping me I was okay and made up my mind that I would definitely be coming back each year) and drunk people, shirts are coming off, people fuck on the balcony, the artists bring smoke machines, so when people start lighting up joints, the machine will cloud over whoever has the drugs so security can’t find the culprits.

It’s a night to go crazy before we all return to school and work and whatever other responsibilities are out there. For me, it’s a night to go crazy and ignore my anxiety and ignore everything else floating around in my head and just feel the energy in the room, feed off it, and let it, for a moment at least, melt my stress away.

Everyone needs memories like that to help them through the bad times.

If you don’t have anything, I’d suggestion going out and finding something to become healthily obsessed over.

Together we are a powerful force

As one mind, body, and soul

Let no evil enter or attempt to reduce us

Because of the beliefs we hold.

And with this love, combined with our strength

we ward off pain and stress,

Technician I am, Wholeheartedly, 

In life and in death. 

 

 

Moving And College Degrees

Revelations are nice.

one-step-aheadI’ve realized I’ve spent two semesters overwhelming myself due to my insatiable need to be two steps ahead of the rest of the world. It’s part of my perfectionist arrogance. There is that part of me that expects me to be perfect at everything I try all the time, so when I’m not I get flustered and overwhelmed.

Obviously I know no one and nothing is perfect. But academics is all I really have in terms of reputation: I’m not talkative, I’m not socially active, or communally active, I rarely leave my house lest it be for necessity, so I felt the only way to keep people off my back was to show them a 4.0 g.p.a

I could achieve it. But because I’ve been overwhelming myself with the idea of perfection, I’ve blocked myself from it. How ironic. 

But the good thing is I’ve realized that now. It could be my good mood talking (it usually is) but I’ve realized that I’ve been trying to overachieve my overachieving. I made everything a competition. And after doing some extensive reading on one of my favorite philosophies, Taoism, I’ve reminded myself how damaging competition (especially the kind you create yourself) really is.

This has caused me to drop more classes I felt I couldn’t keep up the energy for, and it’s delayed my progress.

However, today, I came across something spectacular.

I will be leaving this town. After this coming semester. 

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Yes, finally, the time has come! To get the hell out of this college and leave behind the basic classes I find so horribly INSUFFERABLE, and get onto the things I want to study, what I want to learn, and be around people like me, hopefully culturally diversified people.

With transferring, comes the 43,000 dollar tuition. The trouble of housing. Setting up tours. Getting a reference for the Common Application.

With completing this last semester comes the Research Methods class I’ve been dreading with the psychotic professor I’ve been dreading. There comes the language class I have to take; I’m doing American Sign Language (ASL) because I know if I had an oral class my anxiety would cause me to forget everything I learned, since we’d have to respond orally in a different language. I can’t even respond orally in my own fucking language.

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I’ll have to take the first ASL class this summer, and the second next semester.

I’ve been looking at positions I could apply for over the hill with my degree and I’m pleasantly surprised that there are actually options for me.

This is the first time the reality of what I’m doing with my life is hitting me: I can actually become what I want to. That’s crazy. 

Unfortunately I have to choose a history course. It’s listed as “Diversity” under the university transfer agreement. It’s so diverse that the only history to choose from is American history, women history, and latino, hispanic, and chicano history. That’s really diverse, right? Damn, I wish I had that much diversity.

Oh wait, I have ten times that amount in the tip of my fucking finger. Pathetic. 

I also have to take an Ancient art class, or something else under “Cultures and Ideas” which really should be “a very narrowed down version of what we think culture is”.

I’ll be doing a creative writing course, which will be nerve wracking and I’ve heard complaints from other students that the professor is biased towards Hispanic students. When I say bias, I mean she’s nicer to them than others. So we might butt heads.

I also have a choice to make. And this ties into my overachieving issues. I dropped another math class this semester because I couldn’t get out of bed these last six or so weeks. That being said, the math classes isn’t “needed”. I was taking it because I wanted to finish out the series for bragging rights.

'Oh yeah? Well yesterday, I caught one this big!'

However, when I transfer, I will need to take it anyway.

So I can either take a cognitive psychology course. Or retake the math course and risk flunking out of it again because of the heavy load of classes.

The other issue is that because I got an “Average” (a fucking C alright) grade in the first class of the series, and I don’t know the exact percentage of that “average” grade, the private university might try to tell me shit. They only accept Average “pluses”. If it’s a regular average or low average (say, 70-75 %) they have a right to reject the class from your transcript and not accept you.

If you do not have a B or an A in a class, they pretty much don’t like you.

So my plan was to take the second class, get at least a B in it, and flip off the university if they gave me the stank eye for the first class. The problem was this semester I was also getting an “average” grade and I would have ended in the 78% range, given I was able to make up the days I had missed in class.

78% Wouldn’t cut it. Not when I already have another C. So I dropped the class because I didn’t want it bringing down my G.P.A.

One C. One C on my entire transcript in the last three years. C’s can haunt you for the rest of your life man.

I wanted to take a cognitive class because it would probably be my last psychology class for a while. When I get to the University it will be Chemistry and Physics and Biology.

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If I take that math class here, I won’t need anymore math, only the rest of those three sciences. That’s a huge perk to me.

Obviously my anxiety is kicking in. It’s a lot to think about, so I know I need to prioritize. Focus on finishing off this semester as strong as possible, as shitty as it looks right now, and make it through that summer class unscathed.

I know my list of classes are going to include a lot of social interaction and it’s going to test me immensely. I know that my mental health is going to cause issues when I move. But because I’ve chosen to leave my fucks on the curb as I’ve stated multiple times, and because the only other option is to flunk out and not get my degree, I figured I’d give it a try.

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On a completely unrelated note:

I hate when the licensed therapists and doctors track me down on this peer counseling site and say “hi” to me and then don’t respond. It makes me feel like they’re stalking me or judging how I’m talking to members or surfing through my account or something.

It’s like when you’re driving in a car, and there’s a car parked on the side of the road, and as soon as you pass them they turn on their lights and pull out behind you. Don’t tell me they weren’t waiting  to follow me, because at that moment I won’t believe you. 

I’m sure my mild paranoia will safe my life one day.

Anyway, College. University. Going to the university where one man woke up to find his roommate standing over him with a knife and then was stabbed repeatedly in the chest and back last February.

One thing about this university is that the academic programs are great.

I’ll say it’s safe to assume the University’s mental health ones are not.

Definitely will not be living in the dorms. 

Epiphany

Thanks to those of you who have been following me through this time and sending a few positive thoughts my way. I’ve come back from the dark place and have made a decision based on a pretty conclusive analysis on my current situation.

For those of you who are new followers, there are few, let me just say . . . you’re in for a ride reading my posts. I don’t hold much back, so if you’re sensitive to vulgarity and truth well, consider yourself warned.

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Anyway, I’ve been comparing this job position and my previous job position to see how such different positions could result in the same mental reaction out of me.

In customer service, I couldn’t handle the people. I was overwhelmed with anxiety and depression over the fact that the staff treated me as if I were mentally challenged. As if I wasn’t giving my all every day, as if it was okay for them to continually call me quiet and shun me because of the fact.

In this job called Cash Control, our contact with people is minimized. I see the same faces every time I work. My social anxiety is at an all time low in this environment, which is a first for me.  It’s taught me how to take charge of my own tasks, a new skill I cherish, and it’s helped me take criticism a little better–it’s an environment where you are going to be wrong all the time and when you are, you have to have the ability to take it and turn it into a learning process. There are a lot of positives about this position.

But I realized today, as I spent three hours washing and waxing my car, that it’s not my anxiety that’s causing me to want to leave this job. It’s the fact that it’s just not a fit for me.

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My previous customer service position was too many people. This position is too many procedures, too much pressure, and honestly I’m over it. The people gossip too much, we aren’t given enough time to learn the thick ass book of notes they want us to memorize, and I’m not even a business major! I don’t give two shits!

Although, I did handle 75 thousand dollars the other day.

It doesn’t really register how much money you’re touching until you leave the basement and realize damn, that was a lot of money.

I know this blog is generally anonymous, but I don’t trust the internet. Someone, somewhere could find out where I work and the department I work for and that is the reason I can’t share with you the stuff we do at cash control. I was informed not to speak about it anywhere, so I respect them. They were almost robbed at gunpoint last memorial day.

But let me tell you, the procedures are endless and the perfection is required.

cross-the-lineMaybe my anxiety is contributing to my uncomfortability, I honestly don’t care anymore. I just want out. The pressure is going to my head, it’s so fast paced and fuck man, answering the phones? Fuck it, I’m out. That’s just crossing the line with me.

So I’ve applied to a position I’ve been chasing for a year. It’s a lab assistant position at a biotechnology lab in town. I’ve been waiting for them to post the opportunity again and they happened to do so a few days ago.

As much as I dislike cash control procedures, this shit looks bomb on a resume. I may just have a chance.

And, as I said, the skills you learn are pretty valuable.

I applied to be a delivery driver for a cafe. You go to the farm location, put the food in your car, and take it to the cafe. I was stoked about the opportunity until I saw this shit:

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For fuck sake man, I have to drive this? Are you kidding me? I’m used to my low to the ground, space ship looking frame with my tint and my chrome wheels and my booming bass.

That thing is . . . it’s . . . it’s a cockblocker. It’s literally the definition of it.

I applied anyway.

I also decided to put in some volunteer hours.

It might seem as if I’m trying to take on a lot, but honestly I feel good about it. The more confident I’ve become (which I owe the majority of it to Cash Control these last two months) the more I’ve wanted to get out in the world. My social anxiety isn’t gone, but I’m forcing it down. The depression is another story. I’ll deal with that later.

Right now, I feel good. I feel determined and ready to take on the world. It’s 2 AM and I’m hype. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to try something new, Cash Control is boring, I’ve mastered what I can and I don’t want to learn anymore, I want to try something new and exciting like delivery driving or cleaning beakers in a lab.

I put in an application with the Sheriff department. Never mind that my car looks like a drug dealer’s and I do often have marijuana in it, and I make friends with the homeless pot heads at the car wash (I met Juan and Robert today, they really loved my car and how I take care of it, they thanked me for doing such a thorough job on it) and that I could be a criminal mastermind if I wanted to, I’m going to work side by side with the Sheriff.

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Which Cash Control will also help me get. We work very closely with security and security works very closely with the police station. We’re walking out in public with 40 thousand dollars for fucks sake.

I want to either be the Fleet Maintenance assistant in which I drive the police vehicles to repair stations, document the repair, and bring it back to headquarters, or I want to be the Citizen Patrol in which I go around in a volunteer sheriff car trying to find abandoned cars or checking up on vacation homes to make sure no one is smoking it up in there. I wouldn’t carry weapons or be trained as an officer, I’m just the eyes.

I realized the positions I’m applying for, volunteer and otherwise, are independent focused. I like to be by myself. In the lab I’ll mostly be working by myself or with three or four people. As a driver I’ll be driving by myself. As a sheriff volunteer I’ll be driving by myself and taking the cars to the shops by myself for only 4 hours a week. That’s the position I need. The people don’t matter, it’s the insatiable need I have to be alone.

Cash Control is not isolated. You don’t have contact with the public, but you’re constantly around other people. I can’t even take my break by myself for God’s sake. For my personality it’s just not a feasible position. Someone is always watching you, always listening to you, and that makes me paranoid. It makes me anxious.

I have a lot of respect for the people in this department. But it’s just not for me. Now I understand why I’ve always craved a career in which I’m my own boss. It’s not about power and authority (okay, maybe a little), it’s about the freedom to be mostly independent. I’m the only one watching myself.

I don’t mind working in teams, just don’t stack endless procedure and perfection and phone calls on top of that.

I hate to leave a job so early again, which is why I refuse to leave the position until I have another job lined up. I’ll endure this until I can’t anymore, and I will leave correctly this time. The next time I have alone time with the director, I’m going to have to express how I feel. I want to let him know I’ll be leaving soon, and that it just isn’t fitting with me. And that’s okay. No one has my feet welded to the floor. I’ll always be welcome to come back and maybe I will at some point when I feel I’m mentally able to.

I have to remember I have options in life. The world isn’t going to end because I can’t handle this job. It doesn’t matter what other people think and I won’t let my trainer convince me to stay. It’s my decision and no one else’s. And that realization is why I feel so much better today.

Shout out to Robert and Juan. They my new homies.