I hate Kanye, He’s Awesome

I have to jump on this bandwagon because I’m hearing a lot of opinions in the mental health social media community (that’s a thing now. Dear Lord.) about Kanye’s recent interview with David Letterman. The interview is on Netflix.

They talked about a few things. Clothes, art, and Kanye’s “church”. I don’t–I won’t comment on whatever all that is about.

Whatever.

When they first get into the mental health stuff, Letterman attempts to sum up Kanye’s bipolar diagnosis in an “easy” and “simple” way. He states “the synapses get fatigued and say ‘we’re not carrying this message anymore'”. I won’t ding Letterman for this, nor Kanye for agreeing with it because neither of them have probably ever read a neurology or psychology textbook in their life. But to make it clear, synapses aren’t getting fatigued. If we could tell you what was happening in any mental health condition, they wouldn’t exist anymore.

Kanye gets to a point where he needs to get something off of his chest. He says there’s a moment he experienced in his treatment that needs to be changed and if any of you have read even just one of my many posts, you’ll know that I smiled largely as I guessed what that experience was.

He explains that in the moment of one of his episodes, he feels hyper paranoid about everything, that everyone is an actor, everything is a conspiracy. I’d say that’s pretty similar to what many of us feel. He says, “you feel everyone wants to kill you and they handcuff you and drug you and put you in the bed and they separate you from everyone you know. Something I’m so happy I experienced myself so I can start by changing that moment.”

He’s talking about forced/coercive treatment, but also about the general vibe when you’re hospitalized. The last time I was taken against my will, no family was allowed to visit me until I was transferred to a different hospital an hour away where no one could come visit me anyway. While in the crisis unit, I continuously called my mother asking what the hospital staff were telling her, because they wouldn’t be honest with me and I didn’t trust anyone. I couldn’t. People were possessed and impostors and unreal and I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t feel that also extended to their family.

Kanye very openly, and rightfully so, regards this as “cruel and primitive” and I agree to an extent. Is it smart to have all ten family members crammed in the hospital with you while you’re crippled by voices and dread? Probably not. But if, for whatever reason, you have just one person you can even remotely trust for two halves of a second, blocking that contact with the outside world only pushes you further in your head. As Kanye said: “This is like a sprained brain, like having a sprained ankle. And if someone has a sprained ankle, you’re not going to push on him more.”

Then, the big controversy comes: the meds.

I figured his opinion wouldn’t be very popular.

He said he has been medication free for eight months. Some of the crowd claps. I would have. Wouldn’t you clap for your friend or parent who was able to come off their blood pressure medication? Do they run the risk of raising it with bad eating habits and lack of exercise just as Kanye runs the risk of being carried away by mania while refusing to take care of his mental health in other ways? Can’t your friend’s blood pressure rise again for no clear reason, just as Kanye’s mania can come unprovoked? Doesn’t your friend run the risk of death just as Kanye theoretically would were he to dip into a serious low? If everyone in the world wants to compare mental health to physical health, then compare it that way too.

But, Kanye is very clear he’s not advocating for everyone to go off their meds. How have people missed this? I have the quote right here, verbatim: “When we clap at the idea of not being on medication–my form of mental health I think is like the luxury version of it. There’s people who can’t function without medication. So I’m not advocating–I’m telling you MY specific story.”

It’s the same thing I tell others. All. The. Time. Yes, I’ve gone off and on meds. Yes, there were times the meds were extremely necessary. And there were times they were a detriment. And for ME, my PERSONAL DECISION was that I have always felt better off medication than on. And I needed to choose: be compliant with meds 100% or leave them alone 100%. It was the on again off again that was torturous.

So even with Kanye stating specifically his personal experience, we think we have the right to tell him what’s better for his body, basically stigmatizing our own. I’ve never once told a mental health peer to go off their meds. But I’ve been told thousands of times by peers to go back on meds. That’s like a religious fanatic: don’t tell me about your atheist or Muslim or Jewish views, but let me tell you about the love of Jesus Christ and why you should accept him into your heart because that’s what’s best for you, that’s what will save your soul.

It’s hard to feel accepted with a mental health diagnosis. It’s even harder when your own people are against you.

Letterman then goes on to explain his own experience with medication and the advances in medication targeting specific areas of the brain (which is just misinformation) and says that medication is what helped him see clearer. Kanye, at some point, reflects that it’s great for him that he found a medication with the least amount of side effects that works for him. That’s the only way to respond. That’s the way I often respond.

My point? Why does Letterman get praise for pushing the efficacy of medication he has proven he doesn’t understand the chemistry of, and Kanye get flack for choosing to go through his mental health journey in a different way? Because medication works for you? Because it’s saved your life and you want to save him too? What if he doesn’t need saving?

This ties into so many topics. Coercion, publication bias, and this idea that we know what’s best, that we have the right to force help on someone.

This isn’t a man in a coma who would never want to sign a DNR. This is a man who is conscious, albeit not in your reality. And that makes you uncomfortable–maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you’ve seen how families can fall apart. Whatever it is. But the point is we must eradicate your discomfort by subduing his experience.

This is coming from someone who recognizes this need to help is innate and out of good intention.

This is also coming from someone who recognizes and has experienced the terror and pain that we go through. This is coming from someone who knows first hand that sitting in two week old dirty clothes, ratty hair, no food while listening and believing voices telling me I’m going to die soon, that I won’t be on this earth anymore, fucking sucks. This is coming from someone who absolutely appreciated the moment medication helped bring me from that. This is also coming from someone who recognizes medication isn’t always a life sentence.

This is coming from someone who understands that you can’t talk to your high blood pressure, but you can talk to your voices. I’d say that’s a pretty big wedge in the whole “mental health should be treated like physical health” argument.

But talking–that’s rarely encouraged in traditional psychiatry. A shame. A lot can come from it.

My point? Don’t stigmatize each other. Don’t act like we as a species have all the answers in the world. Don’t act like anyone really understands the mechanisms of any medication. And don’t thwart someone’s individuality because it clashes with your beliefs.

Writer’s Block

Do you all remember a time when I would bust out posts every day, sometimes twice a day, sometimes thrice a day? That time ended many months ago, and this writer’s block has continued something fierce. Every once in a while I come on and see how everyone is doing, what’s going on their life and where they are heading and I wonder why I just can’t kick my ass in gear and write.

I’m a writer for God’s sake, that’s what I do.

So, as I sit in class right now, it got me thinking about my writer’s block, others writer’s block, and how people just push through it. So that’s what I’m trying to do, for the sake of the cathartic process, and for the sake of my writing future.

Because I am such a broken human being unique individual with a variation of experiences, I decided to do something for myself and attend an outpatient group. This group meets three days a week, for three hours each day, and I’m on the evening schedule. We learn a lot about coping skills, about forming and maintaining healthy relationships, as well as being open and honest about what’s going on in our head. Some people have substance use issues partnered with their mental health, others don’t.

I’m not sure what I’m learning from it. I know that it gets me out of the house and prevents me from isolating, which is good for me, and I know it’s good for me because I absolutely hate doing it. And I seem to hate doing anything that’s good for me. Ever get that feeling?

Meanwhile, the outside world is falling apart and we’re all sitting around twiddling our thumbs like:

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When we should be doing something like this:

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Kanye West is trapped in a perpetual state of “mania”, or at least he’s addicted to the “manic” behavior, Trump is still president, sexual assault victims are coming forward and getting pushed back down, people are putting guns to their heads, overdosing, throwing themselves off bridges and the ages are getting younger and younger, there’s rarely anything positive on the news (in America), everyone kind of flipped the bird to school shootings, cops are still shouting “break yourself fool!”, cocking their gun sideways, and blowing seven holes in innocent people like they work for the crips, and meanwhile I’m sitting here on this computer documenting it all, processing it, and thinking back to similar times.

I think maybe, just maybe, we’re all stuck in a pretty serious delusion about our lives: That we can continue moving forward with all of this baggage on our back. Nothing is being discussed, and when a discussion does arise, it turns into nothing more than the internet being divided on the subject for a couple days. Racism is a hot topic, until a school shooting happens. We’re all crying for the students until a cop shoots another unarmed white, black, yellow, blue, brown, rainbow man/woman. As we writhe from the shock, Trump says something outlandish and/or stupid (mostly stupid), and all cameras point to him. They’re so busy photographing his orange face and blonde toupee that they miss the guy standing on the bridge behind them, tears streaming down his face.

There’s no soft way to put things: we’re living in a society in which things are swept under the rug.

I guess it’s nice that you and your friend on Facebook have these deep philosophical conversations over messenger that ultimately ends with one of you quoting words you don’t understand by some unnamed author, hoping that the way you’ve carried yourself and your political stance will help you sound like an intellectual.

And it doesn’t help that when something serious on social media is trending, it doesn’t get taken serious and its fifteen minutes of fame go by in five. This is my argument against May Mental Health Awareness month. There’s nothing impressive about a month of people saying nice things to each other and being supportive when that mindset falls apart in June.

At this point, I’m ranting, because if there’s one thing we all understand about writer’s block, is that you can’t pull the right fucking words out of your head even if your life depended on it. Something has them stopped up like hair in a drain, and I don’t have a long enough whatcha-ma-call-em to dig the mess out. The only solution is to pour corrosive bleach down the hole and let it set. So, I’m pouring bleach on my brain and waiting for the magic to happen.

What will happen to this blog? I’m not entirely sure. I don’t want to get rid of it, I want to help it blossom into what it once was. I want to communicate to real people about real topics and still promote mental wellness. I want to commit to writing at least once a day to gain back old followers and shake hands with new ones. I want to be part of the solution, not the problem, in my own life and in relation to the rest of the world. I want a lot of things, as you can see, and I’m not quite sure what that means.

And that’s today’s Mental Truth.

 

Kanye, Toss Me 50 Mill, Let’s Change The World Together

d39146bc8bc845478890583accb3f0bf*Ahem*

I’ve been writing on this blog since July 2015, periodically at best, fragmented at best, turned it into a domain I could own, lost the domain because I couldn’t afford it, and now here I am, back to square one, reintroducing myself to the world of rants, vents, and sarcastic musings.

I realized how good of an outlet this place is, and I miss the interactions between new people, old people, and people in general. Fuck building an empire, fuck pleasing people, and fuck everything, in general. I think that’s a good way to start off this post.

In reading back a lot of my old posts, I laughed at my own jokes, humored myself with my own sarcasm, and cherished my vulnerable moments: essentially it was a huge ego trip. Isn’t that wonderful? How conceited can I sound? I could probably be worse if I tried. But what’s life without having a bit of an inflated self-esteem? What’s life without trying to convince the world you’re a god among men? Kanye knows what I’m talking about, right? No? No one? Okay.

Love Kanye. What he say in his new song, Yikes?

“Shit could get/menacing/frightening/find help/ sometimes / I scare/ myself.”

And

“I can feel the spirits all around me/ I think Prince and Mike is trynna to warn me/ they know they got demons all on me/ devil been trynna make an army/ they been strategizing to harm me/ they don’t know they dealin with a zombie. ”

I resonate with that on a spiritual level. That’s not sarcasm.

And, of course, the most influential line of his musical career:

“Scoopity Whoop.”

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That song took me to higher levels of consciousness. I sat at the computer listening to Lift Yourself, nodding to an average beat, but that next verse? That NEXT VERSE THOUGH? Damn, I just didn’t really realize, I guess. I don’t think I’ll ever find another set of bars that chills my veins like “Poopity Scoop, scoopty whoopty poop”. Or, whatever.

In 2015 I was twenty years old, barely out of the terrible teens, and in 7 days I will be twenty three, still barely out of the terrible teens I guess, and in my own apartment free of the reign of terror that has been my parents’ apartment. I have good memories and bad memories. The good memories are pretty good, the bad memories are pretty bad. Read previous posts for more info. I’ve basically put the last three to four years of my life in a chronological order on this blog.

I remember writing a post about my predictions for the 2016 election, and how if that base head neurosurgeon Ben Carson dropped out of the race, Trump would win. Well, what happened? Without Ben there to cancel out Trump’s stupidity with his own, nothing could stop Trump. Don’t agree with me? No one’s asking you to, but I basically predicted the future, so . . .

Now what I’m trying to predict is when I will find a competent psychiatrist. I’ve sort of come to the conclusion that it’s impossible. I had a good two months with a county-funded psychiatrist who listened to what I said and, for the first time in my life, found a set of medications that worked well with me, but when they kicked me out of the Mental Health building K because I didn’t want to actively kill myself anymore, because I still had a job, I got stuck with a regular county psychiatrist who, when I told her I’d stopped hearing voices, told me I was lying and sent out a prescription for a higher dose of my medication.

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If you’re wondering, I stopped seeing her.

If you’re reading this and are really confused, I’d suggest reading through a couple previous posts. I would also like to remind my audience that not everyone who hears voices hears them all the time, and not everyone who hears voices has/or identifies with schizophrenia–two common misconceptions. And not everyone with schizophrenia hears voices.

The fucking point is, if I tell you I’m not hearing voices, I’m not hearing voices. If I tell you I’m not seeing shit, I’m not seeing shit. If you don’t believe me, go to the back room, take your head out of your ass, and breathe the fresh air of reality, because you’ve been missing from it for too long.

If I don’t want my medication dosage raised, don’t fucking raise it. 

Now, here’s the tricky thing. In leaving that shitty psychiatrist and stopping all my medication, I not only put myself through some serious mental hell, I also lost the ability to find a psychiatrist or therapist at all.

*For global readers, insurance is what the United States scams it’s citizens with to get more money.*

With my propensity to freeze up talking to doctors, psychiatrists, and therapists, I often get help calling for new appointments because the anxiety paralyzes me. So I’ve pushed my family to help me call. We’ve been calling for two months now.

One psychiatrist has gotten back to us, after a week of him leaving voicemails, us leaving voicemails, and both of us missing each other. He asks how old I am, and what’s going on with me. My mother takes the call, and explains what I’ve described, and he suddenly has too many patients.

Liar rubber stamp. Part of a series of stamp concepts.

Every other mental health professional we’ve called and who has called us back and left a voicemail always, always said “I’m sorry, I’ve got too many patients right now” without needing to know any information about me.

This motherfucker said that after he learned what I was going through. What does that make me think? That he can’t take on a challenge. And, if that’s the case, at least have the balls to tell it to my face. Tell me you don’t want to deal with me. Tell me you can’t handle it. If you can’t admit that, fuck you, you’re a coward.

And most importantly, don’t ever waste my fucking time again.

If you’re wondering, most recently I’ve breezed through 5 new diagnoses (not counting the ones I had as a teenager) after seeing 4 psychiatrists and a few therapists since December 2017 (six months total) , and I only found out the most recent one because I sat in my psychiatrist’s seat and read her notes on her computer while she went to go talk to a colleague. If they won’t tell you what they write, read it yourself–a tip for anyone new to the mental health system. Just don’t get caught.

The diagnoses have been: GAD, PTSD, Depression, Bipolar 1, Psychosis NOS from oldest to newest.

Some psychiatrists haven’t agreed with the PTSD–how is that something to refute, anyway? They ruled out schizophrenia and depression with psychotic features. The psychiatrists in the hospital were bent on Bipolar 1 even though I’ve never been manic in my life, the one I saw immediately after my hospitalization wasn’t sure at all what I was dealing with (finally, an honest fucking response). The last one is hell bent on psychosis NOS. They all agree on the depression and the anxiety.

So, what have I learned over these last six months besides the fact that if I’m not actively suicidal and/or psychotic I won’t be taken seriously as a candidate for steam-lined mental health care? Other than, if I’m still working I don’t actually need any real help?

Absolutely nothing.

If I didn’t love my job, I would have quit just to add the dramatics they obviously want.

I welcome myself back into the blogsphere.