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.

 

Tell ’em

What are some of the strangest reactions you’ve had when you’ve told someone your mental health story?

Do you tell people your story? I know plenty who do not, and for good reason: we’re not exactly the most understood people out there.

But see, I like shocking people. I like making them uncomfortable, watching them squirm. And so I often tell my story to strangers, especially if they approach me on the street trying to hit on me. How do I do it? Well, here’s the way it usually goes.

“Hi, I’m Dave, can I ask your name?”

“Hi Dave, I’m Alishia, nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you too. What are you up to today? Any plans for tonight?”

“No real plans, just some relaxation. It’s my day off today.”

“Oh yeah? Where do you work?”

*Insert Cheshire Cat smile in my head*

“I work at a peer respite house.”

“Oh yeah? What’s that?”

“Well, you see we support people who are apart of the county mental health system.”

“That sounds nice. Did you go to school for that?”

“You have to have lived mental health experiences. We do get trained, but we also have to have lived with some mental health challenges ourselves.”

And if that doesn’t make them uncomfortable, if they don’t glance away or squirm or do any of the body language symbols that means I’ve got them by the neck I mention my psychosis. That usually gets them.

What are the benefits and disadvantages to doing this? I don’t see many disadvantages. I of course wouldn’t do this in a professional setting were I applying for some big time job that isn’t mental health related, I’m aware most people have some serious misconceptions of who someone with mental health issues is. But I do it to people I meet or people I’m meeting because I’m not someone who sees my mental health as a disadvantage or something to hide. I see it as something to embrace, something to be fully, wholly comfortable with.

I don’t run down the street screaming I’m crazy, even if that’s what it sounds like. But if the topic comes up in conversation, I casually mention my struggles, and if people struggle with accepting them, that’s not really my problem.

How did I become comfortable with this? I wasn’t in high school. I didn’t like telling people I had anxiety around people because I thought it was a weakness and I didn’t want to expose my weakness for people to play target practice with. I didn’t start getting comfortable until I turned twenty and was forced to tell my boss at the amusement park I was working at so that I could get accommodations. The way he responded was very understanding, and I regret leaving that job without really giving any proper notice.

Sometimes all it takes is one moment in time.

Sometimes all it takes is a little risk.

People will react badly. And if you already know that, you’re already 10 steps ahead of everyone else. And that’s today’s Mental Truth.

Sports Through The Eyes Of A Socially Anxious Recluse

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I’ll let everyone in on another little fact about me.

I’m not a huge sports fan. When I say huge, I mean I don’t go online to find updates or watch games every Sunday, or go hardcore for a certain team, and I definitely don’t have names of players memorized and I don’t know what positions people play.

My boyfriend is the exact opposite. We’re almost the exact opposite in everything. He loves sports–you know, things like Soccer and american Football, probably not something like cricket or or golf I don’t think, I’d have to ask. Golf is considered a sport right?

Why?

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If you know stuff about american Football or you just live in America you’ve probably heard of the Oakland Raiders and that’s the team his family are huge fans of. Now I grew up watching football with my family, particularly on holidays or during playoffs, but we never rooted for specific teams all together. My father rooted for different teams depending on the game, but if a team from California was going against a team from some other state, he’d root for the team from California because he grew up in California–you know, 49ers, Raiders, whatever. My mother grew up rooting for the Lions because she grew up in Michigan.

Yes, you can laugh, it’s fine.

Anyway, I grew up not rooting for anyone. I watched the games but they always took so long my wild brain couldn’t focus on them, especially during slow games or during games where one team blew out the other. I just couldn’t focus on it. I had to be doing something else–writing, reading, thinking, playing games, anything that let my imagination fly a little more than a sports game required.

I liked playing them in school for physical education. I actually fell in love with flag football, although with my anger I would have much preferred to play tackle football. Knock a bitch out.   I was the one everyone threw the ball to because I bobbed and weaved and scored and did a dance and flipped everyone off.

I never flipped them off, I would have got in trouble.

Had I been less anxious , I probably would have tried several sports teams. I probably would have tried out for football. We had one girl on the team and she was big and she could truck the shit out of you. Too bad she didn’t ever get put in. I could have scored some touchdowns if people just threw me the ball. I could have had two people on my ankles and I would have dragged them into the end-zone with me.

Our high school football team was embarrassing. The first game I ever saw we lost 54 to 7 or something.

So I grew up around sports, but never got attached to them in ways some people do.

jonahImagine my surprise when I found out how adamant of a fan my boyfriend was and how adamant of fans his entire family was. I knew I’d be introduced to sports culture.

 

I’m honestly surprised at how fun it can be.

 

I’m not a jump out of my chair, scream, hop, and almost break my neck find of person at games. I might clap and cheer at the most. Obviously–I have social anxiety, I’m not going to be one to point myself out in a crowd even if the crowd around me is doing the same thing.

It’s funny I’m rarely anxious sitting in the crowd at a stadium that holds so many people and makes bank and therefore tries to make you feel at home, like you’re part of their profit when you’re never going to be. During time outs and halftime and stuff, that’s what I do by the way. I look around the stadium at all the people and I look at the giant screens advertising things calling everyone part of the family and emphasizing the importance of loyalty and it makes you feel like a part of something and I’d say that’s a sure fire way to keep your wallets open. I know most people are just fans enjoying their team and rooting for their team but do they see the creepy factor of it? The George Orwell kind of “Big Brother” factor of it telling you to be “Loyal” and “you’re part of our family” kind of creepiness?

I’m being 100% serious. I saw an advertisement promoting loyalty.

It’s creepy. I’m sorry, it’s creepy. It’s like a cult.

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You’re the one spending all the money and they’re the one making all the money and the only thing your loyalty gets you is 10 percent off a keychain or something.

That being said, it doesn’t make anything less enjoyable. I actually enjoy being in the stadium with all the energy and the people (yes, even the people) and I like watching the little football players running around like crazy people and leaping on top of each other and getting pissed as fuck when a play gets ruined. I like how you can be anticipating one thing and the exact opposite of what you hoped happens. It’s exciting as hell!

Just because I don’t jump around and act like I have rabies does not mean I’m not enjoying myself. I just enjoy myself in a different way. Because I’m different. That’s just who I am and even when I get my social anxiety under control, I’ll still be that way. I’ll still be the one analyzing the creepy factor of the sports culture and sitting quietly and if you EEG’d my brain you’d see I’m enjoying every moment of it to the same degree the dude across the aisle who gulps beer and screams “fuck yeah motherfucker! Fuck the Chiefs! Fuck you!” and jumps around and hugs the people next to him in a moment of fan-to-fan bonding is.

I don’t mind rooting for the Raiders regardless of whether they win a lot or lose a lot. Their clothing and hats just happen to be my style, they know how to rock the right music at the stadium, and hey there’s always a lot of different kinds of people at the games–black, white, Hispanic, whatever, it’s always a good amount of different cultures.

But there is one thing I draw the line at:

Living in Oakland, California.

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That’s about as likely to happen as me shoving a spoonful of tarantula babies in my mouth.

We don’t live very far from there, maybe an hour and a half or so, but fuck. That. Shit. Straight up. It’s time for the half ghetto part of me to come out. I ain’t living in a place where motherfuckers get shot walking their dog in the hills in broad daylight for no apparent reason. They didn’t even rob the dude! They shot him and left him! In the supposed “good part” of town! Fuck that. Fuck. That.

My boyfriend always says he wants to live in Oakland and I’m like that’s so cool, I hope I can visit you often because if there were only two towns in the world and I had to choose between living in my tiny ass, beach-ass, boring-ass town where the biggest attraction is a boardwalk with old ass wooden roller coasters for the rest of my life, and living in a city where I’m 100% sure the zombie apocalypse Crips and Bloods dictate people’s lives,  I’d choose my tiny ass town.

Yes, it’s nice the majority population is African American in Oakland. It is not nice the majority of the city is ghetto as fuck. Whatever happened with Oakland? I’d like some history on it. It’s not ghetto because there’s a lot of black people. Something must have happened historically for it to be so ghetto.

cover_smallLike how cities were red-lined back in the day as “dangerous” and that’s why suburbs emerged–“come live here white people, away for those dangerous ethnic people. They might rob you. We’ve got the perfect house for you on the outskirts of town”.

And that’s why suburbs are often named “white suburbia”. Because it was made for white people.  And just as another side note, for all the people who say “everyone has an equal opportunity to come up in America”, tell me how is it equal if you grew up in an apartment with unstable parents crippled by debt and had to start working when you were fourteen to help pay the pills and therefore sacrificed your education compared to someone who grew up in a house with two parents and a picket fence and got help with their homework because their parents went to college or at least finished high school? Who do you think will have a determined type of mindset? Who do you think will be encouraged to make something of themselves? Who do you think has more of an opportunity to be around people who have made something of themselves?

It’s not about race. I don’t care if the apartment kid was white and the house kid was black. If you grew up in a suppressed environment, your drive and your motivation is going to take some time to conjure and you’ll be more likely to make uneducated decisions than your counter-part. That’s just a fact of life.

Anyway, that was a tangent.

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Stadiums are simultaneously exciting and creepy, I enjoy going to games, my social anxiety isn’t too bad at them, I just won’t talk or scream or break my neck, and I’ll never live in Oakland.

End of discussion.