Two Years of What-The-Fuck

It’s pretty ironic that a few weeks ago I made a post on here saying I wouldn’t be on here for a while and instead of leaving I’ve been pulled back towards this site.

It’s been a long road. I was skimming through some of my older posts and having a laugh at not only the content, my aggressive nature which quite obviously came through in biting satirical wit, but also the comments and the beautiful souls I’ve met through this blog.

One person commented: “Are you mentally stable?”

If you have to ask that question, the answer is probably no. And I saw how many posts I wrote at 3am, 4am, 5am, and then came back the next day with either no sleep or two hours of sleep. I was busting my ass in Calculus and trying to find a job that wasn’t complete ass while simultaneously losing my mind. I’m pretty sure this blog helped me keep some kind of attachment to reality.

Then I ripped Alex Gorsky a new one (here) because there is no way in hell that man should have any kind of award in any kind of “humankindness” category. He’s a straight monster, and if I ever get the chance to meet him in person it’s going to take all of my strength not to spit in his fucking face. He hasn’t done anything that any other C.E.O of a major pharmaceutical company hasn’t done. The difference is he got caught. And I read about it. And that’s where the real danger for him is.

People ate that post up back in the day before I disabled the like button and couldn’t figure out how to get it back up, and it launched me into the blogsphere at a tremendous velocity. I became known for not only tearing apart pharmaceutical companies, but tearing apart anything and anyone who seemed to throw ethics out the window. And people who park in the red zone outside of my apartment. Fuck those people.

Where is this blog now? I have no fucking idea you guys. I basically recorded my decent into madness (I said that in some post a couple years ago) and the large gaps in between posts are indicative of me either being comatose in bed, in the hospital, or running the streets all hours of the night.

Those times consisted of a lot of weird shit. Like, weird shit. Like . . .like this:

Cat-Fish.

That isn’t even weird enough to really explain all the weirdness. I remember a lot of horrible dreams, traumatic dreams, all of which were caused by some unseen forces, dark forces, demons, which followed me around during the day, crowded my bed at night, whispered in my ears, fucked up my thoughts, intercepted them really, possessed people around me, and somehow I went to class and took notes and took exams and went to work and I guess I just sort of let my body work from muscle memory while my mind drifted into a different dimension.

At one point I remember being in hell, literal hell, and I was strapped to a torture board where some demons–I finally saw their true form, rather than the disguises they use here on Earth–turned their dial and stretched my limbs, trying to rip them from my body. That part was a dream, I’m pretty sure, but when I woke up they were still screaming at me, hissing at me, and I don’t remember much after that, just a lot of them screaming and cursing me, and they promised I would die.

One of these fucking things

Eventually I couldn’t keep up with the classes. Eventually I wasn’t picking up shifts at work, and inevitably, I stopped writing on this blog. The last hospital visit I had followed the Las Vegas shooting. Because those demons were after me, (and still are in all truth, that hasn’t gone away) they were hell bent on—

God it’s so much to explain. It’s so much to explain mini explosions detonate across my cortex when I think about it.

I believed I was here for a reason, on earth I mean, and I still believe I am. I believe everyone is. But for whatever reason this was heightened during this time, and I believed the safety of the human race essentially depended on me, and that was why so many dark forces had surrounded me–they knew what I knew, and they had to stop me.

They couldn’t physically touch me because I had the protection of my ancestors–that’s what I believed and still believe. So instead, they entered others around me. Strangers, friends, coworkers, and everywhere I went I felt attacked and unwelcome. I couldn’t tell anyone because 1) they’d think I was crazy and 2) they were all fucking in on it anyway.

So when the Vegas shooting happened, I immediately knew it happened because of me. I waited and waited and watched videos and theories and news stories, waiting for a motive to come out, and when nothing was found that only confirmed my belief: he’d been possessed and the shooting was a message to me, specifically, that they were coming for me. And that’s when they attacked my thoughts and I remember always feeling confused and drained of energy and I couldn’t sleep and I just wanted to die. I wanted to die and happened to mention my plan (I guess I didn’t really want to die anyway) and got the sheriffs called on me yet again.

I wasn’t in the hospital as long as people would expect. I have this problem. It’s called functionality.

She seems functional, albeit stressed.

Through all of this–and this built up over the course of a year, at least, maybe even two, of being out of my mind–I was still functional. I went to classes even though I had to drop them eventually. I went to work, some fucking how, and I wasn’t speaking strange or obviously disconnected from reality. I wasn’t walking down the street talking to myself or accusing people of things or anything. I was just . . . existing. A shell. My body moved, I responded to people when they spoke to me, and that was that–I was okay by mental health system standards.

And so the hospital just wanted to help me sleep. And that’s what they did. They gave me some Seroquel so I would sleep, waited for about a week, diagnosed me with Bipolar 1 this time, and tossed me to the county mental health system back in my town which gave other optional diagnoses (PTSD–which I’d already been diagnosed with, Schizoaffective–there’s a newbie, Psychosis NOS–okay?) no one ever came to a conclusion on, and then they outright rejected me. I didn’t last long enough in their system for them to conclude anything, really.

Now, the wonderful thing about all this is somehow it’s all worked out.

And the weird thing is now that I quit my medication in the worst fucking way possible, a way that almost cost me my life, I feel so much better. I still get confused by my thoughts often, but a lot of the time I feel wonderful, sparkly, like I’m connected to every inanimate and animate object on earth; sometimes I know what people are thinking, sometimes I know that they know that I’m connected to them.

I haven’t heard any voices since I abruptly stopped my medication–it’s been five months. That’s fucking unprecedented. I’ve been a conundrum in the mental health system since I was 5.

I’m back writing, and that’s a good fucking sign. Welcome to whatever the fuck this blog is now!

Perhaps I’ll find another C.E.O to drag through the dirt and hang by his/her ankles.

A Rant A Day Keeps the Psychiatrist Away

Must. Vent.

Ass. Hurts. From. Sitting. But. Must. Belt. Out. This. Post.

My last post consisted of my complaining about something or other, a career or whatever, abandoning my people, becoming a no-good-foul-traitor, but all of those worries have been eradicated. I will be pursuing another degree in physics while simultaneously keeping my connections to the mental health community by remaining employed as a peer counselor, participating in trainings, and eventually getting involved with NAMI: In Your Own Voice. So, all that complaining I did in the last post? Yeah, ignore that, I figured it out.

This post is a different kind of complaining. This post is more . . . hmm, what’s the word?

Seriously, what’s the word? How about you read the post and then tell me in the comments a word that sums all this shit up.

It’s been . . . five months? Six months off medication? I’m not exactly sure how long it’s been. I haven’t heard any variation of voices since the night I tried to kill myself (a post about that wonderful experience here) and my mood has been relatively–relatively–stable.

I feel like I need to re-customize this blog. The fact that the titles of the post don’t show up on the homepage literally makes me want to kick a bird.

I would never do that, I love animals.

I do this with my cat on the daily, and 99% of the time she fucking hates it

And this is the type of energy I’ve had since I quit those godawful medications. A warning to anyone attempting the Trintellix route: BE CAREFUL. It’s very understudied, still very new in terms of psychiatric medications go, and it fucked me up when I got off of it. My blood would have been on that companies’ hands.

I did have a bit of a breakdown yesterday, the first major one in five months, and that’s what’s prompting me to write this post. Just when you think you’re through the thickest part of the forest, you turn west and an abundance of pine trees cover your path in thicket.

While writing a different post for a different blog, I recounted my childhood in relation to school, specifically math classes. And while writing I got this overwhelming sensation, this bombardment of pain, a deep pain, a subconscious pain, one my conscious mind couldn’t comprehend. I couldn’t type anymore, the words were so muddied it felt like every sentence sounded like jumbled shit.

I couldn’t identify any other emotion besides pain. I couldn’t recount what kind of pain it was. I was sad, hurt, frustrated, confused–it felt like I was one of those Russian dolls that have smaller dolls hidden inside of it, and one of the smaller dolls was screaming in agony while simultaneously being burned alive, raped, and verbally accosted.

I’m sorry for that picture, but that’s the depth of the pain.

School is generally shit for most people. Very rarely have I met a person who said: “I liked everything about every year of my school and I don’t have one embarrassing or bad memory related to it”. If you are one of those people, comment or email me, because I want to hear your story.

But school wasn’t that horrible for me. I didn’t talk, suffered through Selective Mutism for a while, then paralyzing anxiety. I had trouble making friends, I was shit in math, and I was an outcast. No one really bullied me because I was tall, athletic, and hung out with kids who brought tasers and drugs to school. Home life was hard: surrounded by domestic violence, drugs, alcohol, emotional torment. And while I recognize all of that as a sort of systematic trauma, I thought for sure my awareness of it would cut down on the effect it has on me. Apparently I was wrong.

There must be some memory–or memories–of which I’ve either repressed or I just ignore and refuse to explore because there is an inner child, an inner part of me, that is consistently crying, screaming, cowering. It never stops. And sometimes there’s a “trigger” that ignites this part of me, like writing about my childhood.

A therapist I had at the Outpatient group I attended insisted I get in touch with my inner child but the closer I got to speaking with her the more distant and dissociated I became. That was another catalyst for that wonderful get-in-the-tub-and-kill-yourself incident you can read about in the above linked post.

Another trigger for me is when teachers say “Alright, we’re going to do an activity today” or “We’ll do something fun today”. The word “activity” alone sparks my fight and flight response whether it’s at a team meeting at work or a class or a workshop or a training. Or, when people say “you’re so quiet.” Even when they mean it in a good way.

Speaking of training, I have a three hour one on Wednesday of which has been really fucking with my head. I don’t do well around large groups of people and if I’m forced to do a role play in front of even five people I will spontaneously combust. I will.

I’m scared to touch my inner child with a ten foot pole because it seems like a volatile, unstable, nuclear ball of energy. I know I need to do it in order to properly heal, but I haven’t found anyone who can help me through that process yet. The last therapist I had who I paid for not only discounted my job and my skills, but insisted I get a second job even through I was curling on her couch crying my eyes out every session. I could barely hold my head up, and she wanted me to push myself harder.

I’m done with those kind of people in my life. Sometimes it’s not about pushing through the hard stuff, sometimes it’s about holding the hard stuff.

It feels good to post on here again, a real post. Not a whiny, woe-as-me post, but a thoughtful, reflective rant.

The word to sum up this post: Fuck.

Hearing Voices: What’s Your Experience?

If you have ever heard or currently hear voices, what do you consider them to be? Nuisances? Annoyances? Assholes? Friends? Companions? Have you been tormented by them or complimented by them, or both?

I am of the fairly small percentage of people (9%) who hears voices without a clinical diagnosis. Kind of feels good to say that.

I consider myself lucky. I’ll explain why.

If you’re a research savvy person, if you have faith in that system, then you may be glad to hear there is research on this topic. Not a lot, and certainly not enough considering how much time and money is put into making new anti-psychotics that all have the same chemical basis as Haldol or Thorazine damn near. Research was done by a woman named Sandra Escher years ago on children aged around 8-19 who heard voices. She followed them over a course of three to four years. The children who were taught to handle their emotions, who were taught to heal, to cope, and to understand–well, for some their voices disappeared. For others, they were simply less of a nuisance.

For the children who were introduced to diagnosis (i.e, Psychosis NOS, Schizophrenia), who were clinically screened, who were placed under psychiatric care . . . well, you can surely guess their voices grew more malevolent, more violent, and I can only assume so did their vision of themselves.

I believe she and her colleagues also found that the adding of psychiatric medication only suppressed the emotions needed to heal.

Another study: you can read the abstract here, and the actual paper if you have access to PubMed. Essentially, there were two groups: non-patient and patient. The patient group consisted of people diagnosed with either a dissociative disorder or the infamous Schizophrenia. Everyone in both groups heard voices, both internally (and no, not the voice you’re using reading this, or the voice you hear when you think, it’s legitimately hearing another voice inside of your head), and externally.

The conclusion? Those who were non-patients, meaning they had never been diagnosed, regarded their voices a positive experience, or at the very least, felt more in control of themselves. Those who were patients obviously didn’t. You may be thinking: well, what about people who hear voices but also have cognition issues, delusions, e.t.c, e.t.c?

There is a message behind the voices, the delusions, regardless of what they are, even aliens, radiation, government control. I’ve experienced this first hand both in myself and at my job.

For someone who comes from a rather decent childhood and suddenly experiences that mindset, do you know what that is? That’s a trauma. And do you know what you never ever do to someone who has been traumatized? Take away their power. You never disable that belief in themselves that they are in control, you never invalidate them. 

And that’s exactly what our system has done. If you are lugged into a psychiatric hospital in the midst of this mind state they call psychosis, you are given drugs and a diagnosis–for emergency situations, I understand why it’s done. However, to then ignore the terror, the voices, the delusions, and simply pretend it’s wholly biological and physical and nothing else-that’s a mistake. A rather large mistake.

I’ve just recently come out that I hear these things. There are a lot of other things I believe and experience that I prefer not to talk about with professionals in fear of diagnosis. Who has ever walked out of a psychiatrists’ office who hears voices without a diagnosis like schizophrenia?

I’ve been this way since I was a child. I kept quiet since I was a child. I kept quiet until I was an adult, until I kept seeing peers and strangers experiencing what I experienced . . . but they kept calling themselves sick and disabled and worthless. And I kept wondering why I never called myself that.

I told my psychologist today some of the things I hear. It’s a mixture really: either I’m being mocked or I’m being fed “grandiose” ideals (that I don’t necessarily disagree with). I was speaking with a man in class the other day and he is a new psych major. He’s learning a bunch of new things and he’s loving it, so he had a lot to say. In the midst of the entire class speaking, and him, I heard “you’re more evolved than him. You are. Stop listening to him. You’re better than him . . .” e.t.c.

I did stop listening, kind of because I got lost and distracted; I certainly didn’t mean him any disrespect. The mumbles in my head gave me a bit of a break from all the mind numbing conversation around me.

And yet at the same time I can come home, pick up my kitty, hug her, and hear “kill her; snap her neck, strangle her” e.t.c.

And as a non-patient, while distressed at times, I too often feel I have a higher level of control in how I react to voices and hallucinations of all types. I always have. And I won’t let something like diagnosis take that power away from me.

The paranoia is a different story, and the visual hallucinations of huge ass spiders and people following me down the road, well, that can get out of control a little. I’m working on it. It’s rooted somewhere in my mistrust.

Voices are heightened when my anxiety is through the roof, when I haven’t gotten enough sleep, when something stressful happens, and today my psychologist offered the idea that they were my brains’ coping mechanisms: they serve as a distraction from the reality I have never been able to face. I fully believe they’re the product of my childhood, my present reality, and the dam of feelings, thoughts, and pains kept in the back of my mind, the one that’s going to burst sooner or later.

Eleanor Longden is another advocate of this. She came from a rather average childhood and decent family. She started hearing voices in college, told her college counselor, and in the end suffered through the whirlwind of psychiatric diagnosis, drugs, and degradation. When she too learned the mechanisms to view the voices and her paranoia and everything else that developed after her diagnosis in a different light, her voices’ malevolence disappeared. They began complimenting her and giving her answers on her tests–right answers.

My first instinct is aliens, but I won’t go there.

What’s my point, you may be wondering. Is it that the medical model is all cocky bullshit written and paid for by big pharma, the APA, and insurance companies? Is it that psychiatric medication is the devil? Is it that the idea of mental illness doesn’t exist?

It’s none of that. 

My point is that the experiences we have as humans aren’t just things to ignore. They’re not things to label and toss away like a dead cat carcass. They’re reactions to our reactions to our world. They won’t go away not because your medication is wrong, but because as long as we’re alive, we’re always reacting to something: our surroundings, our families, news, stress, trauma; the list could go on for ages. Your brain might react with voices, someone else’s might shut down, or pick up in speed. It’s your participatory awareness that matters.

You raise your hand in class, you talk at meetings, and if you don’t do those two things, you at least comment on blogs like this. So why not participate in your own health? It’s okay to focus on these things. It’s okay to listen and be aware of yourself. And it’s okay because nothing in life is as simple as popping a pill or typing in a diagnostic code.

 

In case anyone was wondering, before the DSM 3, these “disorders”, these “illnesses”, were called reactions. Curious, eh?