Feel The Burn (No, This Isn’t About Politics!!!)

As we speak . . .

Err, let me try that again.

As I type, a disgruntled, mostly mediocre writer hidden in the confines of her room corner accompanied only by the L.E.D blaring of at 28 inch computer screen and the voices in her head, and as you read, I am steadily fighting the urge to buy the most useless crap I can find on Amazon.

I don’t need it.

I don’t need it.

I don’t need it.

I DON’T need it.

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But . . .

I do.

Wants and needs are practically synonymous, right?

I have these obsessions occasionally. I think I spoke of one regarding pocket and chain watches. They come and go like the moon–so in that sense, they’re always there, I just don’t always see them.

In my teenage years I was obsessed with metal. I wore black every day, I had chains hanging from both sides of my pants, I had wrist bands, chokers, a collection of belts, and the shirts I wore were all band T-shirts. I didn’t like anything unless it was black, silver, or a dark blue. I liked to blend into the shadows.

It died off suddenly, replaced with science.

Now I’ve recently been fascinated with Gothic architecture, antique furniture, colored contact lenses, and Gothic decor.

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If you weren’t already aware, and if I have not shared this publicly, I am a miniature hoarder.

I say that because I’m not as active as some hoarders. Some go out to stores and buy the small little trinkets several times a week and surround themselves with those trinkets until they’re buried to their neck in them. Some collect junk off the street. Most see potential use in all of their items.

I do not have the means to buy trinkets everyday because I don’t have money and I am not comfortable outdoors. I lucked out. I think?

I do, however, pick up things from the street. For years I had them hanging on my room door until I had to take them down because they wouldn’t stick anymore. I don’t know where they are in this room anymore. I might have managed to throw them away.

I have cleaned my room a few times in the six years I’ve lived here, all massive cleanings due to family members from out of town coming in or a giant spider scaring me into them having egg sacks hidden around in corners of my room. Usually these cleanings were successful for a day or two, maybe even a week, and then my mind crumbles and I throw things where I can see them, otherwise I lose them.

This most recent cleaning was not near as successful as the others. My anxiety forced me to my knees on the ground, the hot flashes forced me into the hall every few moments and when I returned to the state of my room, the one place in the world where I am confined, alone, and myself as it was stripped down to its very core (meaning, you could actually see my floor), I shut down.

5075834918_e6d7e7b48e_bIf you spoke to me at that moment, I would only stare. Your words would have been muffled as my mind protected me from myself and the outside world. I was essentially a hollowed shell for a good thirty minutes. If I did respond to you, I would screech or throw something, which are the responses my mother elicited from me. Finally she realized how the panic was affecting me and said we’d done enough for the day. I felt an immediate wave of relief and went back to smiling and laughing a good ten minutes later.

I believe this mess I’ve accrued is partially a result of my scattered mind, of my need to have things accessible and within reach at all time, not tucked away in a drawer or hung up in a closet–what’s the point of all that? I have better things to do than worry about things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

I also believe it is attributed to a specific time in my childhood. When we were evicted those years back, the eviction that made us homeless, we kept what we could in a storage unit but many things we had to take to the dump. There was no ” we might be able to keep this”, it was simply discarded and forgotten and I had no control over it. I can’t remember much, it might have been a time where I was more anxious than I thought I was, but I can remember some trips to the dump, all the furniture we had to break down and throw away, including my bed. Although the furniture was just that, furniture, I didn’t get a lot of things as a child as it was, and now the majority of my stuff was either locked away and inaccessible or broken at the dump forever lost.

I started bringing things home from the dump with me. Toys and such, other things that weren’t damaged and just covered with a little soil, things I could wash off and potentially get some use from. At some point.

There are many things in my life I haven’t had control over, and one thing I can control in my room is how it looks.

Seems contradictory in a sense, seems like if my room is the only thing I can control, I would want it neat and tidy. But that’s not how my brain works.

My brain is not neat and tidy.

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If you have not seen Tidy Monster animation on YouTube, go watch it, I command thee.

My room is clean when I am on top of the world (or when I’m panicking about a spider egg sack). I’ve had moments where nothing mattered to me anymore, I was full of energy and I threw away all the things I didn’t need anymore, hundreds upon hundreds of papers (I’m not exaggerating) and I took every item out of my room–mattresses, dresser, large black television I have no use for anymore, three layer desk of which I’m sitting at right now, exercise bike of which I have no energy or space to actually put to use . . .everything,and got my hands and knees and scrubbed the walls, the corners, vacuumed, danced to music .  . .

I started at eight in the morning (after being up all night) and cleaned until 9 p.m.

That was the last deep clean my room had. The last ones have been small efforts until I get distracted and suddenly want to ride my bike to start training to become the next American Ninja Warrior or I get distracted by an article or philosophy or a million things.

I love my brain. But I’ll be damned if it’s not a workout to keep up with it sometimes.

 

Medication Contemplation

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What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear “mental disorder”?

I think for a lot of people it’s sequentially “medication”.

Let’s talk about that.

I haven’t kept it secret that the field I am going into, the field of psychiatry, is very inadequate at keeping track of who they medicate, why they medicate them, and yet is very adequate at hiding research results of medication. I haven’t kept it secret that there are lots of pill pushing physicians and pill pushing pharmaceutical companies. Let’s put it all on the table and be honest about it: medicine is a business. It’s not about you, it’s not about your health, it’s about how much money they can make off your health.

That doesn’t make medication any less important. That doesn’t make your health any less important. And although I stopped medication years ago, it doesn’t defeat the fact that I realize how much harder I’m making it on myself.

So every once in a while the thought slips into my mind: see a psychiatrist. Talk to them. See what they recommend. You have the smarts to tell them they’re being ignorant if you feel they’re being ignorant.

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Then I think about everyone who has had the displeasure of being stuck in “the cycle”. We all know what the cycle is:

  1. Try medication.
  2. Hate side effects.
  3. Try different medication
  4. Doesn’t work.
  5. Try different medication.
  6. Hate side effects
  7. Doctor gives another medication to combat first medication side effects.
  8. New side effects. New Health problem
  9. Two new medications.
  10. Cocktail of pills at the end of the day.

“The Cycle”.

Then there are people who get stuck in the “secondary cycle”:

  1. Find good medication
  2. Develop tolerance
  3. Up dosage
  4.  Doesn’t work
  5. Coming down off medication is too hard
  6. Stays on medication.

There are about fifty other common cycles we could discuss here.

It’s hard for me to sacrifice my personal beliefs. I am not one to readily put a man-made product in my body. It doesn’t react well with me, it feels wrong, it’s foreign, it’s a form of control. . .

And yet, here I am contemplating it once more.

I think this is common for many of us who struggle. We teeter between a variable amount of medicinal release and a variable amount of “I can handle this”. The result:

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But then I think of the cycle I currently live in.

  1. A few good days.
  2. Heavy anxiety
  3. Paranoia
  4. Depression
  5. Mood swings
  6. insomnia
  7. Suicidal ideation
  8. self harm
  9. depression
  10. A few good days.

“The other Cycle”.

This alter of mine ( I like to consider it as such) is, simply put, a beast. Teflon strong. Impenetrable.

Were I to live a life inside of my room six days out of the week with no threat of ever having to drift from routine, with no threat of ever having to learn new skills or meet new people, I could manage these things. But that’s not a life I want myself to live, that’s a life my alter prefer I live.

I feel this is something that is often common with some people who struggle. It’s easier not to tempt our comfort zone with abandonment. It’s easier to be in our heads and know where we stand. It’s easier to watch the world carry on than to even think of interacting with it on an on-going basis.

pharmacy_software_trainingTomorrow I start the week long training course for the counseling position I work. They do it every year and you need to attend at least 4.5 days out of the 5. Each day is 7.5 hours and although I know I am surrounded with people like me, I know my trust issues will get in the way of me connecting with them the way they will try and connect with me. I don’t believe their eyes, their expressions, their words, their body language, none of it. It’s as if they’re impostors, mimicking human beings in an effort to mock me.

Today I became much more aware of my hoarding issues. I’m one to buy things online that I only use a few times, then set it off to collect dust. I keep old papers from years before, and the majority of the time my floor, my desk, my dresser, and bed-side furniture are overflowing with things to the point where you can barely see floor or desk top. And when it comes to “clean”, as I’ve had to do partially today because an electrician is coming tomorrow and the spark plug box is in my closet, I shut down.

Every step someone makes near or in my room, I snap at them. Every paper touched, even torn ones, I have to read and touch to make sure I don’t want to keep it. I hold onto the majority of things, but I have the ability to  toss some things if they are absolutely useless. I’ve been worse.

And when I finally see things starting to clear up, I panic. My sensitivities skyrocket, just the simple sound of paper crumpling or the movement of someone’s arm passing by me to pick up something sends me into a rage. I just want everything and everyone to stand still, shut up, and let me think in silence.

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The whole process has exhausted me even more. And as usual, I don’t have anyone willing to talk to me about it, nor do I feel like bothering anyone at 11:30 at night.

So I think about medication. I think about how it would dull some of the anxiety and paranoia, how it would blunt some of the moods as well. I think about how it might help me think clearer, get rid of some of the miscellaneous thoughts clouding up my vision and preventing me from smoothly writing this post right now. It might even ward off some of the depression.

There is a possibility I could live easier than I am.

I enjoy who I am. I love my personality, I love the quirks of my day. I love seeing the world in a different light and honestly I love being suspicious of every one and everything. Why would I want that defense dulled? I love living in fantasy. I love having overloads of ideas and shocking people.

But it all comes with a price.

I don’t remember a moment from the time I was aware of myself consciously where I wasn’t living in a fantasy world, where I wasn’t in my own head,  where I wasn’t anxious about every living and non-living thing. Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to not have that.

normalAnd I think that’s what attracts many of us to medication when we first hear about it: the prospects of living as close to a societal “normal” as possible. Because the concept of normal is quite attractive.  The concept of relief is quite attractive. The concept of not being lost within your struggles or your disorders is quite attractive.

I don’t know what I will do. A psychiatrist is appealing, but expensive.

I will not go to another physician for my mental health, for Gods sake that’s a nightmare and pointless.

Perhaps I will just go in for a consultation. Perhaps I will talk about my options and ask the right questions. Perhaps I will make them tell me what they don’t tell the average person because the average person doesn’t ask.

It doesn’t hurt to try yet again, does it?