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.

How Do You Feel About Safety?

What’s your experience with this? With suicide hotlines, or being interviewed about it with a mental health professional?

Because I feel there’s a major flaw in this system, and I’ve thought about different ways it could be fixed, I’ve thought about ways it could be improved, internally and externally if that makes sense–everything is internal and external with me–, but what I’ve yet to do is ask others who have similar experiences to me how they feel about this.

The last time I used a suicide hotline or service thing, I don’t know what to call them, I was halfway going to do it. I pretty much led the entire county and hotline on a wild goose chase. I was teasing them about trying to find me before I die, while simultaneously trying to find a place to either jump off and break my neck or jump down far enough to die on impact. That’s hard to do when you’re avoiding overpopulated places like bridges. Maybe I picked a hard way to go for a reason. All I knew was 1) the trees weren’t talking to me anymore 2) I didn’t see any point in anything and 3) there were no more butterflies, and that’s a problem.

Eventually some county social worker and a sheriff got me. My boyfriend had got to me first, because I told him where I was. I’d told the hotline people where I was too, but in cryptic language and they must have decoded my message.

Anyway, my point is the whole reason I fucked with those hotline people, and pretty much myself, was because I hate, hate, hate when I get asked “can I help you get safe tonight?”

What the fuck does that mean. What does it mean? Can someone tell me? I don’t know what it means and I don’t know how to answer it. If I say I have a plan, they freak out. If I say I don’t have a plan, they say well, let’s keep you safe tonight and then suggest I listen to music or write.

I have different reasons for suicidality. Sometimes I’m just overwhelmed and can’t handle my emotions because I don’t know how to do that efficiently, so I say I’m going to kill myself. Sometimes I half-mean it, like when I sent them on a wild goose chase, and when I really mean it I tell no one, I just try. TRY. Because I’m shit at killing myself too. People say that’s a good thing, and being in my right mind right now I say it’s a good thing too. The creepy thing is I got the same treatment in the hospital, I got the same run around.

I also got a lecture. Remember? Remember that LCSW I posted about? My God, 45 minutes of fucking her repeating what depression is and ignoring the fact that I’d said several times I didn’t feel depressed, just overwhelmed, e.t.c and then at the end of it all, after I stopped talking for thirty minutes, she got concerned and said “I hope some of this resonated with you”.

3ru9d

Who knows, it could have been more than 45 fucking minutes, THERE’S NO CLOCKS, HOW THE HELL SHOULD I KNOW.

Whatever. The point is, nothing got resolved because everyone just wanted me safe and I didn’t know what that meant, and they seemed to feel that means leaving me alone for two days and I don’t know if that’s what keeps me safe or not, I don’t know. Because when they asked me in front of the entire room if I still wanted to kill myself, I lied very angrily, pretty much through clenched teeth, “no.”

So is the goal to just stop people from killing themselves, or to actually resolve the feelings of wanting to die? I didn’t want to say yes and get my rights taken away. I saw it coming from a mile away, I didn’t trust them an ounce. I don’t trust anyone. I was pretty much convinced the two women who were talking to me actually wanted me to kill myself, legitimately, like they were working together, which is partly why I didn’t sleep on top of the last week and a half of me not sleeping, and why I refused the “sleeping medication” they wanted to give me. Sleeping medication my ass. Fucking cyanide. And I wouldn’t have dared to mention that or anything about the trees, magic, or voices.

So my question is, since different people have different experiences, what do think about your “safety”?

Does helping you stay safe do anything for you?

Do you find yourself giving answers as empty as their questions?

*Some food for thought. Or thoughts for food.*

 

Alternatives to hospitalization, suicide, and loneliness.

I’ve talked a lot about the ideals and research and experiences and proofs of the efficacy of peer programs, peer respites, peer hospital diversion programs, peer everything, and I probably have a lot more to say in drafts that I just having refined for publishing. However, what I haven’t done is talk about how these programs are growing throughout the United States and spreading internationally.

This is a good thing. Other things like Ebola, that spreading, that’s bad. Peer programs good. Remember; Ebola: BAD. Peer programs and respites: GOOD.

w9ocuo

Although these systems are fairly new, the research, the propositions, have been around since about the 1980’s from my knowledge, but they haven’t gotten good footing until recently. It’s hard to get good footing when you’re pushing up against a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s hard to get funding for good, credible research (in the eyes of science and the APA) when psychology research is  more often than not funded by those multi-billion dollar industries. I.e, Big Pharma.

But this isn’t about “fighting the system”. I suppose in a subtle way it is, but it isn’t about the system really, it’s about the people, which is something the system is not about. For us, it’s about communication and connection and relating and processing: processing emotions, processing whatever you yourself considers illness, disability, disorder.

It’s not about diagnosis. We don’t care if your diagnosis is schizoaffective, we just care about what you’re feeling, how you’re reacting, and what we can do to support you through that. Schizoaffective is the last thing on our mind. In fact, we won’t even know a thing about diagnosis unless you tell us: and that’s only if you want to.

And in case you’re confused, peers are people with lived mental health experience supporting you through your experience, whatever that may be.

Most respites have a phone line you can call. We call ours a warmline, I’m not sure what others call theirs, maybe it’s all mutually exclusive. It’s 24/7. It’s not a suicide hotline. If you’re in a crisis and need to chat, and we think maybe you need further support, we can talk to you about how you feel about getting more support. It’s not about calling the police. Obviously immediate, drastic crisis is different. But I’m someone with frequent thoughts of suicide and frequent plans and I’d feel ten times more comfortable telling a warmline that than a hotline that because hotlines just keep asking me “can you guarantee to me that you can be safe tonight?” And I don’t know what the fuck that means and if I say no, they want to get my location and if I say yes then they say “have a good night and stay strong”.

Warmlines are different. We know the feelings you’re feeling and we process them with you to the best of our abilities. I’m not saying we can connect with everyone. I know I’m not a person who has managed to connect with everyone. I try my best, but it’s like life: you’re not going to get along with everyone. Everyone tries their best.

There’s no script or series of questions we have to ask. I like to call it supportive conversation, not active listening. It took me a while to really understand that and be able to offer support through words and not just an ear. I’m still working on it.

You can call for anything. You feel like your thoughts are racing? Call. Feel like your neighbors are watching you? Call. Aliens chatting to you and annoying you? Call. Feeling harassed? Call. Seeing demons nibbling on your feet? Call. Feeling depressed? Call. Feeling anxious? Call. Feeling stressed? Call. Whatever it is, Call.

I’m saying these things to give you alternatives. Alternatives to hospitals, to suicide, to loneliness.

I don’t know the exact places of every respite house in the country. I don’t know which communities have established peer programs or peer hybrid programs, whatever. Take initiative to look it up.

But in the meantime, I do have a list of some respite houses and programs here. They have descriptions and where they’re located. If you don’t see your state or whatever listed, google, google, google. Call, call, call.

They’re out there.

Want more information? Email me.

The Truth Behind Trauma

Let’s talk about Trauma. Fun!

And I’m not talking about the kind of trauma you get from thinking you’re badass enough to put a glob of Habanero hot sauce the size of a U.S quarter on your tongue without an 8 ounce glass of milk near you.

*Tip* Water makes it worse. Why? Water spreads the chemical compound capsaicin (C18 H27 NO3,) while milk breaks it apart, putting it generally.

capsaicin

And while making the mistake of sipping your ice cold water on top of your gulp of Habanero may very well traumatize you enough to keep you away from hot sauce for a while, it’s much less likely to reduce your functioning compared to, well, a near death experience.

Compared to child abuse.

Compared to sexual assault.

Compared to emotional and verbal and physical abuse.

If someone tells you they were abused as a child, and they give you the honor of actually sharing those painful memories with you, do the best you can to not to judge how abusive of a situation they were in. 

Concept: Construction workers inspecting brainEmotional and verbal abuse does not leave physical scars or torn innards, but it does shape how someone’s mindset is. It shapes how their brain reacts to every portion of their environment, to every social relationship, to every coincidence, to themselves. That’s essentially the person’s entire life.

There’s one type of trauma I feel isn’t talked about much, and reading what I’ve read recently from a health textbook used to teach students going into health careers, it’s obvious it needs to be talked about *RANT  ON THAT COMING SOON, MARK YOUR CALENDARS*.

And that’s the trauma that is a mental health crisis. You hear people give credit to the overwhelming medical model and biological “basis” of mental health issues simply because there’s a gap in people who struggle. In other words, you see people from all over the world, with all sorts of socioeconomic backgrounds, coming down with these “illnesses”.

Let’s take psychosis.

Picture this: you’re a young adult with blonde hair and blue eyes. Your family is upper class. Your parents don’t ask too much from you, or too little. You learned how to clean up after yourself, you learned how to work, you learned how to handle some emotions, maybe not all, but some. Everything in your house is fun and laughter and love and happiness, except for when that one uncle comes over and gets a little too drunk.

Then the fucking alien assholes start contacting you and the government starts freaking out about it, so they track you to your residence and, in the middle of the night, sew a tracking device in your wrist and the aliens keep telling you they’re after you so you start trying to protect yourself by hiding in the gutters at night.

Roughly.

Then you’re held down with restraints and medication and no one’s telling you anything, so it’s probably the CIA trying to do experiments on you so you fight them and they fight you and finally a few months later you come to a vague conclusion you’ve been in a hospital and that’s really only after they hounded into your head both heavy, heavy psychotropics and the heavy, heavy idea that you’re really sick. 

Then you’re sitting in a chair staring at the wall wondering if anything exists.

4085242314_1dc2607d4d

If that’s not traumatic, than I don’t know what is. If that’s not something that needs to be addressed, that needs to be processed, that shouldn’t ever be responded to with “you’re just sick, sorry, get over it, learn to live with it, or don’t, whatever.”, than I don’t know what is.

I’m not going to sit here and argue with everyone who believes in the medical model. If you do, fine; if you don’t, fine. That’s not really the issue here. The issue here is that more often than not, mental health crises are written off as just “something that happens”.

It’s ignored that the feelings of fear, of mistrust, of confusion, of the million other emotions running through your head are a result of what you’ve just been through–not your “symptoms”.

It’s ignored that those feelings need to be processed, not repressed. Not summed up as “sickness”.

Still iffy? Alright, I’ll put it this way: as a child, and to this day in my adult life, if I butter my toast by holding the knife in my left hand, with the blade ridges facing away from me, my father will undoubtedly yell at me and tell me I’m buttering my toast wrong. If I dispute one of his beliefs, he’ll most likely launch a laundry basket at my head and call me a bitch like he did the other day.

There are a lot of feelings from that: anger, fright, sadness, confusion, frustration, exhaustion. You would probably agree that 1) those incidents are ridiculous, and 2) that those feelings should not be repressed, but processed and outed. If so, you get an:

a11

When I was in the hospital, my self-harm wounds that were obviously bleeding and staining my clothes and, although not deep enough to kill me, but deep enough to cause concern, were called scratches and they didn’t ask me why I’d done it: it was just part of the depression. My lack of eye contact and refusal to speak until someone reached me on a human level was also chalked up to depression. When I said I wasn’t depressed (because I wasn’t, I had other things going on), they didn’t believe me and told me I was depressed.

So, the fright that came with being hauled away by the sheriff, of having all these nurses crowd around me and take my shoes and all my belongings and of the counselors repeatedly lecturing rather than talking, of having to ask to use the bathroom, of the yelling match between the nurses and the man about him not pissing in the cup at 5 in the morning, about the guy who bolted across the floor on his hands and knees, about the man who kept wandering up and down the hall muttering to himself and never receiving any more interaction besides an occasional “hello” from a nurse, and most of all the threat of being stuck in this fucking place for more than twenty four hours, were never processed. I ran out of the doors, free, laughing hysterically when I left. In the short time I spent there, I’d already felt the harsh sting of institutionalization.

I can only imagine the fright and anger and terror and mistrust and pain and hurt that comes with being forced in there against your will, stuck in restraints, or completely isolated. 

And none of those feelings were ever asked about. None of it was ever processed. My privacy was continually violated as they asked me in front of eight other people if I still wanted to kill myself, as if that wasn’t private information. It’s as if they figure, hey, they’re all crazies, who cares how they feel about anything.

And that’s how people get worse. Repression. Repression. Repression. Invalidation. Invalidation. Invalidation.

It’s not just about “disease”. It’s not about “sickness”. It’s not about “disorder” or “illness”. It’s about emotions and your reactions and how you’ve been taught to react. It’s about learned helplessness.

It’s about feeling deprived the right to process your own emotions. And, as someone who says they are in control of their health, you have to take that right back.