MI, DSM, IPS, and Surströmming

motivational_interviewing_dvd

This week I’ve been apart of a Motivational Interviewing training, and as I do with all my trainings and classes I take that stand out to me, I’m going to share the experience. Tomorrow is the last training day, but I’m going to end up having to leave a couple hours early, so since today was my last full day I decided it would be a good idea to share what I’ve learned.

If you have no clue what I’m talking about, don’t worry, I didn’t know what the fuck it was either. All I know was that for me and my coworker it was free, and you can never get too much training in human services.

It’s actually not really about interviewing, but it is. I feel when people see the word interviewing they immediately think about that one job they went in to get where the woman with the bright red lipstick and the blonde hair asks you to sit in front of her as she rolls off your basic “what are you strengths, what are your weaknesses, tell me about a time when you accomplished something, tell me your mother’s father’s, mother’s maiden name and sign here at the dotted line to say you consent in giving me your first born child’s left leg.”

hqdefaultMI is more of a form of communication. You stray away from too many questions because too many questions turns into Motivational Interrogation, and people who are struggling don’t need to be interrogated. MI focuses on encouragement and affirmation with the aim of guiding someone towards change. The belief here, which is the most important part as I see it, is that everyone has the capability to change what they want to change, that everyone has choice, and when we’re stuck sometimes we just need a little compassion to help us see our choices again.

It’s also about focus. You all know my focus is shit, so you could imagine my grief in training myself to not wander off or black out during role plays. But, I learned when I did focus in all my energy in listening to the words someone was saying, so I could “reflect” back what they were saying, I found I was interested enough in what the person was saying to keep my attention.

I still hate Role Plays though. Nothing will ever change that. They were created by the devil.

By reflecting, I essentially mean interpreting–in a sense. For example, one guy in a role play said, as we focused on change talk, “one thing I’d like to change about myself is to be more extroverted” so my response was “it sounds like you want to make more connections with people”. I was right. It was a guess, but it was an educated one. And this is why MI is both extremely useful and extremely difficult at times.

In MI, you phrase your sentences with “It sounds like” or “So you . . .” or “It seems to you that” or “You’re feeling . . .”. You’re encouraged not to inflect your voice at the end of your phrases so as to make sure it doesn’t sound like a question, which is even harder to do when you speak English and are used to the fail-safe of counseling: asking only questions.

And at first, it feels like you’re telling someone how they feel. This was a reservation I and many others in the room felt. But the more you practice, the less invasive you feel. Instead, you start to get a bit of an intuition on how someone is feeling. If you’re wrong, they’ll correct you. Then you can say “oh, then tell me more about . . .”.

p3gwjznw_400x400

I’ve experienced the opposite of MI from an LCSW at the hospital. She blabbered on about herself, about how I need to change my mindset and about how depressed I apparently was. She needs this training like a hog needs slop. 

But my real excitement about this training is the crossover I see between it and Intentional Peer Support. I think it’s great that clinicians and certified counselors and licensed counselors have opportunities to do MI (if they go through progressive, or holistic studies), but the truth is many of them will never know what it feels like to go through things their “clients” might. And while love and compassion for your fellow human is wonderfully healing, it’s an advantage if you can also relate through your experience. So when someone says their voices are really frightening them today, you’re going to know what that feels like.

It’s not that you have to blurt your experiences 24/7 at this person to prove you can relate. In fact, you don’t necessarily have to mention your experience at all to connect and understand. The difference is that when you engage as a peer, that compassion you put into it will be from a different place. Mixed with MI, I’d say that’s a very powerful relationship to grow with someone.

The thing is, the world is very focused on quantifying mental health and the human experience. We’ve started to ignore the human part of being human. We want cures and answers and we love labels and the idea of “brain disease” to pawn off someone’s behavior on a reason we tell them they can’t control. Good for profit.

 

dsm5-smWhich brings me, quickly, to the DSM. Were we to see and speak with people in the format of MI, perhaps we wouldn’t see this “rise in mental disorders”. The rise isn’t in the “disorders”, the rise is in the diagnosis. Before the DSM III, all these “disorders” were called “reactions”. Everything. What we call psychosis now, was a reaction. What we call the symptoms of “Bipolar” now, was a reaction. Don’t you see? All they’re doing is changing what we call things. It doesn’t mean we’ve “discovered” more disorders. It doesn’t mean people are broken. It doesn’t mean we have “diseases” or “illnesses”. It means some people in white coats are sitting on the board of the APA playing word games. And the more you believe you’re crazy, the crazier you are.

My fail-safe of DSM critique: Schizoid Personality Disorder. Fucking god-forbid someone wants to keep to themselves and have a restricted range of emotions and NOT be upset about it. Fuck. Kick those people off the fucking planet, am I right? Because, from what I’ve heard from people experiencing this, most of them could care less if they appease society or not. They keep the same job for 30 years, they mind themselves, and they don’t get bothered by it. You know who gets bothered? EVERYONE ELSE.

I get asked at work by guests sometimes what my diagnosis is. I answered the first few times, not because I believed in the terms, but because I felt I needed to appease their questions–they speak the language of diagnosis, so I figured I had to too. After a while I’ve stopped giving a direct answer. Instead, I say “I can’t answer that question–but I can tell you a couple experiences I’ve had.”

surst1So what do I think as a peer counselor and psychology student, of the DSM? You ever heard of “Surströmming”? The fermented fish? The one people have to open under water because it smells so horrible? The one people have to dress up with onions and bread to get a decent taste out of it?

That’s what the DSM is in the world of mental health.

Adaptation Proclamation

Well, hello, hello, hello.

As you can see, my internet is working better, I have finished the play I was writing, I’m still swamped in math homework, and I’ve started a new medication.

*Life*

I’m sure everyone is wondering “since when were you writing a play?”

And many more who know what I stand for and how I conduct myself online are probably thinking “you’re on a medication?”

To both I say: expect the unexpected.

8n2lk

This all happened upon my decision to visit that psychiatrist. Despite the fact that it felt like I should have been wearing Gandhi’s flip-flops and a Togo in the office, despite the fact that she played some Mozart-like shit from a ten year old stereo, it was a serene environment.

She’s a nice person. She asked me several questions, of which I stumbled through answers. I told myself I’d be completely honest, and for the most part I was. I didn’t get to say everything, but I said many things. To add to the list of things people think I have, PTSD and agoraphobia has now joined that list.

Now.

You’re probably thinking, “You went to a psychiatrist; I thought you were anti-psychiatry?”

No, no, no. I’ve never been anti-psychiatry. I’ve been anti-stupidity. I’ve been anti-ignorance. That doesn’t stop this recent experience of starting on a medication again feeling like a failure. I’m supposed to interpret mental health issues as experiences in life, things that can be interpreted separately from the medical model, and leaving that office I felt I had broken my own morality.

4ymp3I’ve given it a couple days and I’ve decided I haven’t broken my own morality. No where in my morality was I ever against medication. I’m against over-medication; I’m against the idea that medication is a better life-long treatment than skills and emotional support. What I’ve always advocated is that whatever you feel is best for you in the moment, I will support, whether that’s medication or DBT or CBT or mindfulness and yoga. What I’ve advocated is what medication is tested for: short, temporary use.

It’s not tested over a period of five, ten, or fifteen years. Most are tested for six to eight weeks, perhaps a few months. Rarely, a year or two or three. Those on the medication for an extended period of time are the test subjects. The only difference is they’re not paid for clinical study.

That being said, after explaining things I was given a list of medications she recommended: seroquel, effexor, propanol, praoxin, and Ativan for panic attacks.

Let me. . .

*breathes slowly*

Let me reiterate: I am not against medication: I am against over-medication. And that, to me, seemed odd and extensive. Propanol? The beta-blocker blood-pressure medication? I understand it’s used for Anxiety, but anything that targets my blood and my heart puts me on edge. Praoxin? Yes, I have nightmares. Really I just wanted to express them as a way to prove I’ve been more stressed; I don’t really need something to suppress them. Ativan? Addictive and not necessary. I said I have panic attacks every once in a while, and while they are severe, I feel I have my ways to control them. Seroquel? 

czf3p

I don’t think so.

That leaves us with Effexor.

First of all, there are some reactions known if you combine Seroquel and Effexor, if I’m not mistaken.

Second of all, I said yes to the Effexor to try and control this recent flow of anxiety. It’s been tearing me down harder than it ever has before, in more ways than one, with the excessive thoughts and paranoia and the rumination and–you all know. The feelings of loosing control. So I will use this (if my body responds alright) for a brief period of time to get myself sorted out. Then I will taper off like I always do and use the skills I’ve learned to carry on. That’s what I’ve always used medication for, and using it again now isn’t a failure. Instead I take it as a sign that I’ve done so well these last four years managing things on my own that my brain had to come up with more ways to test me.

So what do I have to do? I have to adapt.

I’ve never been on an SNRI before. I chose it because I don’t respond well to SSRIs. I’ve heard about as much negative of Effexor as I’ve heard positive, which is about how every drug works. This week I haven’t had any side effects aside from a bit of nausea the first two days, and drowsiness. Will she try and up the dosage the next visit? Probably, because that’s how this works. Will I go for it? Probably not. It’s my choice, remember?

Do I look like someone willing to chug down 300 mg of this shit? HAHAHAHA bitch please. My liver and my kidneys and my heart aren’t interested in that and they can’t speak for themselves; I have to speak for them.

Not to mention I have zero health insurance, so this is getting paid out of pocket.

ae7f0db617309be92059bd9f058e111fe2d6ae85639985ad2b2b2711d51f766eSo my plan this week is to get started adapting. I want to stop missing phone calls just because I don’t know what’s going to be said on the other end.

My plan this week is to figure out something I can do to help me learn social skills. Perhaps something DBT related or a group of some kind. I need something beyond just interaction in class, beyond interaction at work, that can help me learn how to better navigate the social world.  I just need to learn how to talk.

It’s just like math. You have to start from your basic information and build it up, because what you learn in the basics will follow you throughout the rest of your math career. If you don’t have that solid foundation, you can kiss something like Calculus goodbye. Considering that calculus is undergraduate math, you might as well just kiss your entire college career goodbye, because it’s just going to get worse after that.

And that’s what I need. I need to learn the basics of conversation and interaction and get used to being in a territory that I’ve never really understood. I’ll approach this with the brain of a mathematician, come up with an algorithm, and spend the next year of my life drawing calculations on my window until finally that fateful day arrives when I can say yes! This is the equation to social interactions. Then I’ll win a prize and go on to quantify consciousness.

67022840

How To Survive College

There are tons of articles on the internet giving you lists of endless strategies to survive the seemingly endless hell of college group projects, surveys, lectures, and anti-abortion rally meth heads who camp out in the quad with their six foot tall posters of aborted fetuses, enticing women and men alike to screech pro-choice ideals at the top of their lungs.

Everything those lists have told you is a lie.

o-graduation-facebook

College is a bubbling cauldron of exponential debt. It’s a place you go to enhance your nihilism. If you weren’t already a nihilist, it’s a place where you can easily become one. It’s where you hustle to in the morning with your baggy sweatpants and a cup of coffee so you can walk into class, lean your fist against your cheek, and catch those extra Z’s you wasted this morning trying to find your car keys. It’s where you can major in rigid thinking, overly-liberal thinking, and non-thinking all at once.

It’s where you withdrawal from a course life intervenes on, only to take it once more while simultaneously kicking yourself. It’s where you sit in that course and bang your head repeatedly against the desk until the professor notices out of the corner of his eye, but tentatively ignores it because you have an accommodations contract from the disabled students center.

It’s thought to be a place for thinkers, innovators; the next Steve Jobs, the next Albert Einstein, John Nash, Nikola Tesla . . .

. . . but it’s mostly a place for hippies, kids looking for an excuse not to work full time, people with rich parents, or people with sports scholarships.

richkids

It’s where you could get a perfect score on a paper for memorizing a concept, but only fifty percent for creating your own outside the box.

With that in mind, there is your first tip: Lower your expectations. 

  • This isn’t 387 B.C and college isn’t a Platonic Academy. Plato has nothing to do with it. There’s less “let’s discover the world/the ether/ the mind” and more “we did the discovering for you, now read it, learn it, memorize it”. There’s a small percentage that will take that knowledge and build on it. Most will recite it and manage to feel proud.
  • Most people in college have average intelligence. That’s a good thing. Because if everyone was smart, i’d feel like an idiot.
  • The more you expect, the more disappointed you’ll be when things don’t go your way: like when you realize your major is the epitome of horrid and you want to switch but now you have to go through a bunch of paperwork and university is not fucking happy with you at all.
  • Instead, take everything with a grain of salt. Take charge when you need to. Coast along when you can.

We all know how sickening disappointment can be. So instead of making a list over summer hyping yourself up about all the great things you’re going to do in college, make a list reminding yourself not to do that. That’s stupid. And only smart people go to college, remember?

If you have an incessant need to list, than write this fifty times on four sheets of paper:

No matter how easily I sailed through high school, college will not be the same.

That’s my second tip.

It’s not the work content, it’s the work load. Professors don’t care if you have two part time jobs, a child, and a social life. They don’t get paid enough to care. And if they have tenure than you’re shit out of luck.

farley-katz-tenure

3). Learn your limits and don’t overexert yourself. Think you can take seven courses in a single semester and make it out alive? You know what, go ahead, fuck it, I want to see you do it.

4) When you get a boring professor with an accent you can’t understand, restrain your urge to mock his accent loudly and/or strip off all your clothes and mount the person next to you because they keep sneaking glances down your shirt. Trust me, don’t do it. You’ll regret it. You know how you went to that party the night before your exam, woke up with a headache and puked on your desk in class? You remember that regret? Do you really want to feel that again?

5) It’s okay to not move the same speed as everyone else. If you start struggling and feel like everyone is zipping past you at the speed of intellectual light, that’s okay. Because someone next to them is zipping past them as well. And so on. Everyone moves at different paces and if you’re not perfect, that’s alright. Don’t swallow thirty Ritalin and expect it to turn you into a super human. If anything, get in the Ritalin underground dealing on your campus, especially if you go to Harvard or Yale or any place where people are pressured to be inhumanely perfect. You don’t need your degree to get rich then.

6) If you don’t like it, don’t go. The simplest tip of them all. Not everyone feels like they need to constrain their mind (or their time) to the few options college has to offer. It’s not impossible to be successful without a little piece of paper signed by someone who calls himself/herself a “dean”. I’ve heard of tons of people with doctorates working hours at McDonalds now. College degrees don’t guarantee a good life. No college degree doesn’t guarantee homelessness. It’s all about how you maneuver life to your advantage.

7) Last but not least: if you can find a way not to pay for room and board, TAKE IT. LIVE OFF CAMPUS. Often paying for a dorm is the second most expensive thing you’ll waste your grant/loan/scholarship money on. If you can rent a room in a house or live with family or parents or whoever, do it. Trust.

8) Actually last but not least: if you are taking math, and math is not your greatest subject, I would suggest always doing the homework directly after class. I would also suggest doing some right before you go to sleep. The difference will astound you.

I once struggled on a problem for ten hours. Finally I said fuck it, threw my book across the room, resisted the urge to take a shit on my homework page, and went to sleep. I had a wonderful dream of the problem, how to work it, and the solution. Woke up and, for a second at least, declared myself a genius.

But actually, mathematical dreams are not too unheard of. It happens to many people, especially mathematicians. You might not care whether you know math, but apparently your subconscious does enough to work on it throughout the night.

If all else fails, flip off your campus, walk away, and give your life up to nature. What difference does it all make anyway?

df038df4a54e0a4b3657bd9630cb85cd

 

The Point Of A Respite House

The majority of what you all have heard about this new job I have is the training we went through.

Tonight I figured I’d let you in on the alternative to a mental hospital. The alternative that is severely underfunded, understaffed, and few and far between.

I took you all through each day of that. In fact, the last post I published on the subject matter of IPS, which you can read here, was noticed by the organization and they published it on their Facebook page.

Somehow they found my identity. I’ll worry about that later. 

96437adf441d6963676ee4da06b17eae

What I think I did not mention, was that it wasn’t so much of a training as it was a chance to experience a different way of connecting with people, a way of personalizing your time with someone, a way to establish mutuality where both people involved learn and grow with each other.

It’s something not prevalent within the mental health system (I.e, Hospitals), I’m sure we can all agree on.

If you’ve read my past blogs, you’re familiar with the fact that I’ve spoken often of, and started this blog on the concept of STIGMA. Particularly the concept of SELF-STIGMA.

The concept of “I’m so sick, I’m broken”.

The concept of “I’m so broken, I can’t be fixed”. 

The concept of “being fixed”. 

Whatever any of that means.

But most importantly, the concept of self-advocacy. The idea that you are both your worst enemy and best friend, and that no one understands you better than you. That if you don’t put the work in, if you don’t take a step back and see what part YOU play in your behavior, your actions, and your thoughts, than nothing is ever going to change, regardless of your diagnosis.

As you know, we often stigmatize ourselves and each other within the mental health community, sometimes more often than those on the outside do. I read a great post on this issue by a fellow blogger over at A Schizoaffective Story, and if you’d like to read his post on this issue, click here. I think he does a wonderful job of being concise but illuminating some of the main struggles of this stigma within the mental health community. I hope he doesn’t mind me linking this post.

This is where a respite house comes in.

giphy

Let me explain how this respite house works.

  1. We do not restrict you. In doing so, we are giving you a lot of freedom and are being vulnerable to manipulation. In that openness, we invite you, tacitly, silently, to also be open. Usually it works. I notice how trained some people are coming from hospitals and the county where they have to ask to do everything: “can I use this dish? Can I color before I go to bed? Can I sit outside to eat?” And being bombarded by these questions saddens me. “Can I color before I go to bed?” 
  2. We are 18+
  3. We are free, via government funding. Small government funding.
  4. We have 6 available beds. 
  5. You can go for a walk whenever you want. You can come and go as you please, as long as you are home at night so you can stay overnight.
  6. We take field trips.
  7. We do not take care of your medication, we do not handle your food, we do not answer the guest phone, we do not treat you like a child. We do not lock you up, medicate you, or shout at you.
  8. Most importantly, for God’s sake, We are your peers. We have been suicidal, we have attempted suicidal, we have been depressed. We have heard voices, we’ve seen hallucinations, we’ve road the roller-coaster of Bipolar, and the sudden terror of PTSD. We’ve had panic attacks, we’ve had anxiety, we’ve struggled with Ritualistic OCD, intrusive thoughts, and serious mental pain. We are NOT clinical. We are not doctors, we are not psychologists, we are not therapists or social workers or counselors. When you tell us you want to kill yourself, we don’t shove a needle in your arm. We don’t pound a diagnosis on your head. We take you out back under the tree where the birds are chirping and we say: “That’s heavy. I’ve been there. What’s been going on?”
  9. We are support. We’re not your parents. We’re not your doctor.
  10. When you ask “what should I do?” We don’t act like we have the answer if we don’t. In fact, we say “I’m still struggling with that. To be honest, I have no clue. But . . .let’s try and do this together”.

What we do is create a community of people. We’ve all struggled, we are all still struggling.

When I interviewed for a job at this place, I was a little off put by the manager. When he read my cover letter (I believe I included the anxiety, depression, and schizotypy), he said we had things in common. He speaks very softly, but packs so much authenticity and meaning into one word I was momentarily dazed. He told me I wasn’t alone and that we were all in this together (something along those lines) and I didn’t know how to respond.

In all honesty, my first thought was “what the fuck is this? You gunna fatten me up and cook me or some shit?”. 

In response to true kindness and understanding, I went on the defense.

Antonio Smith

Because that’s not the treatment a lot of us are used to. We’re not used to support. We’re not used to people relating. We’re not used to connection on that level.

We’ve gotten used to the idea of “help” being someone trying to fix us, someone trying to give us the answers to our never ending questions, someone we speak to in order to up our medication dosage and spend 10 minutes asking us how the medication has been acting lately.

And then we wonder why we keep ending up in the same places over and over again.

This concept of a respite house is the future of mental health. This is the direction we need to go. This is what funding needs to go towards. Community, mutuality, support.

Not a traumatizing moment of being smacked onto a bed and strapped at the ankles and wrists.

Not a person of authority to tell you you’re broken, or to reinforce the sense of helplessness you already feel.

We’re here to tell you you’re not alone. We’re here to be vulnerable too: to cry with you and tell you how frightening and uncertain things are. We’re here to be human towards you.

This is the program, alongside IPS, that isn’t talked about. It’s not advertised. It’s not given as an option to many people.

And that needs to change.

 

 

Mental Health Awareness

May is Mental Health Awareness month.

for-website-1

I believe there are also weeks out of the year dedicated to such a thing, am I right? Well, you all know I’ve got to put my two cents in on the subject because my mouth is huge.

This is when all of us suddenly get a burst of confidence and we blog about it, we “Tweet” about it, we “Facebook” about it, we Instagram pictures of our medications with “#noshame” and we take group pictures with NAMI shirts and celebrate our uniqueness and remind the world who we are, what we stand for, and what we have to go through each day.

Come June, about 80% of us die off.

I’ve said it once on this blog and I’ll say it again: as someone who has struggled with mental issues for the majority of my life I’m a little offended that people think a hashtag, a brief campaign, or a picture is enough to represent a daily fight. 

I am all for spreading awareness and understanding. I am not for spreading awareness and understanding one month out of the year. I’m not for spreading it one week out of the year or a day out of the year.

socialbranding-534x280Social media is a powerful force. It can spread love or hatred, happiness or despair, anger or calmness. It is also a host of one-hit post wonders.

Awareness of mental health and mental disorders has absolutely nothing to do with your pretty hair, your make-up, and your Ativan prescription while you sit in your car with your cell phone camera angled slightly so the sunlight bounces off your skin and makes you look inhumanely radiant.

I agree you shouldn’t be ashamed if you have to or feel that you have to take medication to help manage your symptoms. I agree you have a right to prove to everyone that you’re not ashamed. I do not agree that a picture and a caption is the only way you can make people aware of mental disorders. I do not agree that a post on Facebook that’s heartfelt, gets you a lot of likes, and makes people think “wow, he’s such a caring individual, I’m so sorry for his struggles” is the only way to make people aware of mental disorders.

Because people in the every day world don’t stigmatize those of us who are perceived as “well”, they don’t stigmatize those of us who are supporting ourselves, going to school, and “overcoming” our “problems”. Because it’s not always obvious with those of us who are able to manage our symptoms that we even struggle.

rob-tinfoil-hat-compressedThey stigmatize those of us wandering around on the street muttering under our breath about the CIA tracking them with the chip planted underneath their skin right next to their temple. They stigmatize those of us who can’t get out of bed for months regardless of treatment, who gulp down forty Xanax or slash vertically down both wrists. Those of us who fall into a pit of immeasurable despair after, just recently, thinking we had come up with an algorithm for the cure for cancer by linking words in newspaper clippings and spending all day and all night putting it all together and emailing university departments for their help.

Because when you post a picture of you and your medication with a caption of smiling emoji and a hashtag “#noshame”,  you’re making everyone aware of what they’re most comfortable seeing: people succeeding over great adversity.

The problem is, those people don’t know about he adversity you went through to get there.

So it’s all good and well to post positivity. It’s all good and well to boost your confidence and show how proud you are of your accomplishments: by all means, continue to do so.

But do me a favor, do yourself a favor, and do all your brothers and sisters in the mental health community a favor by not forgetting where you came from and what you went through to be where you are. Don’t forget about those of us on the street, those of us locked up in jail, those of us battling addictions to combat the untreated depression, the mood swings, the psychosis, the voices. 

Don’t just show, educate.

banner_educate2

Help people understand the difference between “feeling anxious” and having an anxiety disorder.

Help people understand the difference between being “totally paranoid about that creepy neighbor guy, like, O.M.G” and experiencing paranoia.

Help people understand the difference between laziness and depression.

Help people understand the difference between being ridiculously tidy and having an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Help people understand the difference between “being moody” and bipolar disorder (for God’s sake, educate some doctors on it while you’re at it). 

The reality of the matter is, although we all span the globe and the majority of us have never met each other, we’re all a family. We’re not a family united against the “normies” or the “neurotypicals”, we’re a family united in our struggle.

The first thing I was told at my new job ( Yes, I’m officially a team member at this place as of today) told me was “we’re a family here”.

agreed_zps9ykynjnm

And that was the only line I was waiting to here. It’s not something you’ll hear with sincerity when walking into a mental institution. It’s not something you’ll hear with sincerity when walking into a state rehabilitation clinic. But it’s something you should hear with sincerity.

With only six available beds, and the program being run by staff all with mental health struggles, I knew this was a place that focused on the health of the people, not how fast they could get them in and get them out, not how fast they could find a medication combination for them. It’s about giving them the skills they need to live a productive life.

This place is small. It’s also few and far between.

I am a mental health advocate; always have been, always will be, every day, all day. If you really care to know, “label wise”, I struggle with GAD, Social anxiety disorder, Major depression, Dissociation (fugue states, e.t.c.) and, more officially than I’ve let anyone know on this website for personal reasons, schizotypal personality disorder.

But no matter how successful I become (or unsuccessful), I won’t forget about those of us who don’t yet have the support, the ability or skill-set to pull themselves out of whatever hole they are in.

That’s what awareness is about. It’s not about your #noshame pictures with your fucking medication, I’m so sorry to say. In fact, it’s not about you at all. It’s about all of us, all of our struggles, and the truth of them. Not the nice side of it. Not the media’s view on it.

And it’s certainly not something that can be done in a month with nicely printed shirts. Sorry you wasted $25.99.  

So, if you want to make use of this short, 31 day month dedicated to mental health, go out and educate someone. Help someone. Offer your support, your understanding.

You want to “break the silence, break the stigma”? Try doing it a little more often than one month out of the year.

 

 

 

The Willingness To Change

challenge

Here’s a challenge for you all:

Name one person who has never been nervous or skeptical of change.

Take a few seconds, I’ll wait.

.

.

.

Done? Alright, that was a trick question, of course you can’t come up with an answer. It was a joke. We have fun here. We. . . . we have fun.

350299af4c5d70d2c66e02a144612a1249323a2b463bc758d2363433c55b1158

The point is when we go through moments of change our entire lives flash before our eyes: our current, comfortable lives, that is. It’s like a death or a near death experience. Change can be good or bad, but it is always traumatizing because one thing is for certain: you won’t be the same afterwards.

That alone is a terrifying thought: where will the old you go? You were so fond of that guy/girl, they always bought you chocolate when you were down, you don’t want them to leave you all alone in some unnamed territory with no fucking chocolate, that’s just rude.

But we’re rational beings and whether you have a religious/spiritual background, a secular background, or are just not quite sure whether your background exists at all, (it could or it couldn’t, who could really know anyway?), we all agree that humans have no other option on this planet than to adapt. Those who don’t . . . well, they don’t really live to argue against me, do they?

giphy1

Because we’re rational beings, we also have the ability to make choices. You’re not forced to take a promotion at work. When you have your first newborn, you’re not forced to tend to it’s needs. When that one guy with one pair of sunglasses over his eyes and one pair of sunglasses hanging from his V-neck cuts you off in traffic, you’re not forced to stifle your anger and allow him and his worn out fashion statement to live, you could just as easily murder him. I mean, good deed of the day right?

When you realize your mental health affects your functionality, you’re not forced to put the work into gaining that functionality back.

But you can.

So what we choose is just as important to the way we change and why we change as the change itself is.

What does that mean? That means we have a lot more creative freedom in this life than we think we do. Sometimes we have chains on our mind and we tell ourselves we “can’t” do this, we “can’t” do that, but those are just ways we convince ourselves to choose comfort over change.

We don’t choose to struggle mentally, but we do choose how we react to the struggle. Either it smothers us or we adapt and maneuver and find the advantages hidden underneath all the horror.

If it weren’t for the struggles I’ve been through, I wouldn’t have the interview I do on Friday.

300ace809c3c2dca48f2f55ca39cbab24693a9bd470867d2eb4e869c645acd42

I’ll be an “On-Call counselor” at a local Respite house for people who have voluntarily signed themselves up for the program. There are six beds in the house run by peer staffing (the counselors), meaning everyone who works there has struggled with their own mental health, whether it be a mood disorder, a psychotic disorder, or a very, very serious or “all consuming fear” (think Severe GAD, OCD, or Agoraphobia). In the cover letter I was required to explain my mental health, as they only hire people with disorders.

The peer counselors need only a high school diploma, a disorder/mental health issue that lasted at least 3 months, and some training of which they provide. I think my degree helped me get a call back within a few hours of me applying.

This is a terrifying situation. On one hand I’ll be working one on one, or one on six depending on how hard they want to push my buttons, with the very people I want to work with once I get my degree: those with heavy psychiatric diagnosis. And I’ll be honest, I could have had the diagnoses they did had I gone to different psychologists in the past and didn’t keep to myself what I keep to myself. They could interpret a lot of things as paranoia, as mood swings, as hallucinations (well, I’ve had a few, but they are audio, far and few in between, and not harmful, so leave them alone #hallucinationlivesmatter). And it’s not as if “Cyclothymia” hasn’t been discussed. It’s not as if “Schizotypal PD” hasn’t been discussed, they all have at one point. 

Maybe I am them, maybe I’m not.

charles-barsotti-businessman-s-thoughts-no-yes-maybe-maybe-yes-maybe-no-whil-cartoon

The difference between me and the people who try and slap their diagnoses where I don’t want them, is that the things I describe I’ve lived with all my life.

I’ve always felt things watching me.

I’ve always felt I was put here with a power no one else has. I have plenty examples I won’t bore you with.

I’ve tried to contact aliens through meditation, in fact I spent months trying it, because I know I have a connection outside of this earth, I’ve felt it since I was a toddler. I was aware of things before people told me about them.

There are personalized messages for me in online ads (well, that’s true, Google tracks the shit out of you), in songs, in commercials, in simple street scenes. They let me know I’m heading in the right direction.

I’m anxious of people judging me as my social anxiety dictates, yet I’m paranoid that they create a coalition against me and lie to my face every day because people are untrustworthy and ruthless.

go_figure_8ggqsfdeng

I could go on for ages. The thing is, because I’ve always thought these ways, and because I’m one of the lucky few who haven’t disconnected with reality, I can accept these parts of me. I live with them. They are my normality and whether or not anyone else considers them such is irrelevant to me.

My job as one of the peer counselors is to share my story and my experience with those who will share their stories and their experience. Through active listening the goal is to teach each other and learn from each other. And I think that’s a big thing missing from the psychiatric world: there isn’t a lot of time taken to listen anymore.

Those who live in the house have freedom in the kitchen, freedom in the outdoors, and people are thankful they’re treated like adults rather than lab mice in a jail cell.

But this position will be live changing for me. It will force me to be uncomfortable. It will force me to connect with people through the feelings of inadequacy, judgement, and distrust. I know I won’t be the same person sitting at this desk after my first day there. And that’s a good thing. I’m ready for this version of myself to, well  . . .  breathe it’s last breath.

I refuse to accept my lifestyle because it’s familiar. What worked five years ago isn’t going to work today. If I’m going to be successful, I need to be willing to change.

This part of my life will always be in my memory. But it’s time to move on.

 

Limitless

 

bruce_lee_on_limits

Never limit yourself. 

People say “don’t let your obstacles limit you” or perhaps more specifically to the majority of people who read my content “don’t let your mental health limit you” but in reality, that’s just code for don’t put limits on yourself. Because those two abstract things, your supposed obstacles and your supposed ‘disordered’ mental health have never limited you, the majority of the time you just believe they have.

I’ve been searching for some motivation to get me out of my most recent pit and via the other night’s post and the last few days re-reading Nietzsche, I believe I’ve found it. But all of my excitement over future prospects, over my realization, doesn’t belittle the fact that my mental health will indeed, along this path, get in the way.

That’s what it does best: get in the way. 

I’ve spent the last two days planning the equipment that I want to start filming. I’ve received a letter from my college where the judges of the “Literary Criticism Category” considered one of my essays ‘masterful writing that successfully and with poetic insight weaves a critical analysis of the two novels . . . insightful and compelling’, gave me first place, and $100. For an essay I procrastinated on (due to many things) and wrote in a few hours. It was ten pages.

To be fair, who knows who my competition was or if I even had any. 

51bpisjndtl-_sx299_bo1204203200_I’ve also spent the last few weeks gathering books that I plan to read, one of which is called “The Life and Loves of a She-Devil” by Fay Weldon, another by the name of “Man Gone down” by Michael Thomas and of course “The Psychopath Whisperer” by Kent Kiehl, Ph.D because why not. I mean, I forgive him for using the age old term “Psychopath” when, as a psychological professional, he should know the term ‘sociopath’ or ‘antisocial’ is more properly used for those who have been convicted of a crime already since the majority of his book discusses his time in interviewing prison inmates. But I’ll let him slide.

While I enjoy all the ideas I generate for my filming, while I generally enjoy the award I’ve received, while I enjoy spending hours writing, while I enjoy reading multiple books at the same time (my mother can’t stand doing that) all of it is often thwarted by my beliefs of what I can and can’t do, by my mood, and by my thought pattern. 

For example, earlier this morning, about 4:30 a.m, I woke up my boyfriend so he could take me home. We both always fall asleep, we really need to stop doing that because I hate driving that early in the morning and I know he hates driving (if he’s picked me up) too. But because of my anxiety and my obsessive fear of some demonic entity always watching me while I sleep, I sleep better if I’m in the bed with someone other than just myself. It takes me approximately twenty minutes to fall asleep in his room, it takes me an hour and a half in mine.

He falls asleep immediately anywhere, as a comparison.

At any rate, I woke him and he went to the bathroom. I was already awake, sitting up, playing on my phone when I noticed ten minutes had passed. Then fifteen. I started to get worried. First, I thought perhaps he’d fallen asleep in the bathroom. Twenty minutes passed. My social anxiety kicked in: what if I have to walk up there and knock on the door and ask if he was alright and wake up his parents and explain why I’m there at 4:30 a.m knocking on the bathroom door in their hall (they’d came home at 2:40 a.m).

giphy

Then came what I guess people would consider “Abnormal thought”. It’s dark in this house, it’s an older house, I’ve heard stories about entities in this house before (although I believe it had been blessed out of it) but what if something else was back? What if it had possessed him?

I’m not religious nor is my family. This isn’t a random fear or a mock of Paranormal Activity for me, it’s a reoccurring paranoid fear. My heart rate rises in my throat, I start sweating, and I’m paralyzed because I fear if I move, I’ll be found out. Think Jurassic Park and the T-Rex’s eye sight.

paranormalactivity31I believe he’s standing in the middle of the living room, possessed, absent minded, waiting for me to crack open the door so the demonic forces can attack me. So, in the midst of my sweating and paralyzation, I must come up with a way to outsmart them.

I see the dog. I want to wake her as well, but when you move in his bed the wooden frame creaks. I feared if it creaked, the possessed body would barge through the door, wrap it’s hands around my neck and choke me before anyone could hear my screech.

Perhaps I could reach my hand through the bed frame and poke her and get her to go into the living room? No, my arm won’t reach. Damnit.

I’ve heard stories about animals and the supposed paranormal: she would bark for certain if she felt something was wrong with her family. She’s good at barking. If she didn’t bark I would know he’s either generally approachable, or I can have her distract the entity within him while I get the fuck out of the house.

As you read this I’m sure you can see the rational fault within it or at least the unlikely hood of my belief. At this time, I did not. By now a half an hour had passed. I thought about texting him–I couldn’t find his phone so I assumed he took it after all.

Now I’m hearing light footsteps in the kitchen and a clank of something. Am I imagining it? I’m not sure. I waited for him to come through the door. He did not.

3373992-little-child-looking-through-a-crack-between-wooden-planksAfter thirty five minutes I essentially leaped from the bed. I peered through the crack in the door into the dark and saw a sleeve of an arm on the couch–turned out to be a jacket. I took a deep breath and closed the door. I texted him “are you alive?”

He responded instantly. He was having stomach issues–the food we’d eaten had left an abnormal feeling in his stomach.

That was relief to hear. I still refused to move or open the door, but when I heard his footsteps for sure this time and he entered without the look of possession, I felt generally comfortable.

For me this type of thing is a constant. I fear of this for many people I’m around, I don’t trust people’s outwardly appearance or what they say to me or who they claim they are. Not because of an underlying fear of possession necessarily, but that can come into play if it’s night time and I’m in a dark house or dark street by myself.

So what does this drawn out story have to do with anything? Even with all the plans I have, with all the things I’m excited to do, I’m very well aware of what I’m going to have to work through to do what I enjoy. As I’ve stated, College has become my Hobby, work (whenever I find it) has become my survival and monetary means to fuel my career. My career is what I can create whether that’s in my studies (medicine and philosophy) or my art (photography, film, writing). I still want to study. I still want to film, do photography, and keep up my writing path.

There are a lot of things I want to do. And lot of reasons why I could tell myself I can’t do them: I’m tired all the time, I’m anxious all the time, I’m uncomfortable all the time, I’m paranoid, I can’t handle noises or conversation and when I least need depression, it strikes me.

Am I ever going to not be those things? I don’t know, none of it seems abnormal to me, it’s always been there. But whether I will or I won’t, there’s one thing I knowwon’t be: stuck in a place in my life I despise because I was too afraid to take or create an opportunity for myself.

Success speaks many languages. You have to find the one you understand the best.

 

 

 

Moving And College Degrees

Revelations are nice.

one-step-aheadI’ve realized I’ve spent two semesters overwhelming myself due to my insatiable need to be two steps ahead of the rest of the world. It’s part of my perfectionist arrogance. There is that part of me that expects me to be perfect at everything I try all the time, so when I’m not I get flustered and overwhelmed.

Obviously I know no one and nothing is perfect. But academics is all I really have in terms of reputation: I’m not talkative, I’m not socially active, or communally active, I rarely leave my house lest it be for necessity, so I felt the only way to keep people off my back was to show them a 4.0 g.p.a

I could achieve it. But because I’ve been overwhelming myself with the idea of perfection, I’ve blocked myself from it. How ironic. 

But the good thing is I’ve realized that now. It could be my good mood talking (it usually is) but I’ve realized that I’ve been trying to overachieve my overachieving. I made everything a competition. And after doing some extensive reading on one of my favorite philosophies, Taoism, I’ve reminded myself how damaging competition (especially the kind you create yourself) really is.

This has caused me to drop more classes I felt I couldn’t keep up the energy for, and it’s delayed my progress.

However, today, I came across something spectacular.

I will be leaving this town. After this coming semester. 

stephen-colbert-celebration-gif

pierrepaulgangnam

weeklyelectricfossa

 

Yes, finally, the time has come! To get the hell out of this college and leave behind the basic classes I find so horribly INSUFFERABLE, and get onto the things I want to study, what I want to learn, and be around people like me, hopefully culturally diversified people.

With transferring, comes the 43,000 dollar tuition. The trouble of housing. Setting up tours. Getting a reference for the Common Application.

With completing this last semester comes the Research Methods class I’ve been dreading with the psychotic professor I’ve been dreading. There comes the language class I have to take; I’m doing American Sign Language (ASL) because I know if I had an oral class my anxiety would cause me to forget everything I learned, since we’d have to respond orally in a different language. I can’t even respond orally in my own fucking language.

notcoolbro_cf97c1453d47440a519080da35cca076

I’ll have to take the first ASL class this summer, and the second next semester.

I’ve been looking at positions I could apply for over the hill with my degree and I’m pleasantly surprised that there are actually options for me.

This is the first time the reality of what I’m doing with my life is hitting me: I can actually become what I want to. That’s crazy. 

Unfortunately I have to choose a history course. It’s listed as “Diversity” under the university transfer agreement. It’s so diverse that the only history to choose from is American history, women history, and latino, hispanic, and chicano history. That’s really diverse, right? Damn, I wish I had that much diversity.

Oh wait, I have ten times that amount in the tip of my fucking finger. Pathetic. 

I also have to take an Ancient art class, or something else under “Cultures and Ideas” which really should be “a very narrowed down version of what we think culture is”.

I’ll be doing a creative writing course, which will be nerve wracking and I’ve heard complaints from other students that the professor is biased towards Hispanic students. When I say bias, I mean she’s nicer to them than others. So we might butt heads.

I also have a choice to make. And this ties into my overachieving issues. I dropped another math class this semester because I couldn’t get out of bed these last six or so weeks. That being said, the math classes isn’t “needed”. I was taking it because I wanted to finish out the series for bragging rights.

'Oh yeah? Well yesterday, I caught one this big!'

However, when I transfer, I will need to take it anyway.

So I can either take a cognitive psychology course. Or retake the math course and risk flunking out of it again because of the heavy load of classes.

The other issue is that because I got an “Average” (a fucking C alright) grade in the first class of the series, and I don’t know the exact percentage of that “average” grade, the private university might try to tell me shit. They only accept Average “pluses”. If it’s a regular average or low average (say, 70-75 %) they have a right to reject the class from your transcript and not accept you.

If you do not have a B or an A in a class, they pretty much don’t like you.

So my plan was to take the second class, get at least a B in it, and flip off the university if they gave me the stank eye for the first class. The problem was this semester I was also getting an “average” grade and I would have ended in the 78% range, given I was able to make up the days I had missed in class.

78% Wouldn’t cut it. Not when I already have another C. So I dropped the class because I didn’t want it bringing down my G.P.A.

One C. One C on my entire transcript in the last three years. C’s can haunt you for the rest of your life man.

I wanted to take a cognitive class because it would probably be my last psychology class for a while. When I get to the University it will be Chemistry and Physics and Biology.

tumblr_inline_mi32yiyspn1qz4rgp

If I take that math class here, I won’t need anymore math, only the rest of those three sciences. That’s a huge perk to me.

Obviously my anxiety is kicking in. It’s a lot to think about, so I know I need to prioritize. Focus on finishing off this semester as strong as possible, as shitty as it looks right now, and make it through that summer class unscathed.

I know my list of classes are going to include a lot of social interaction and it’s going to test me immensely. I know that my mental health is going to cause issues when I move. But because I’ve chosen to leave my fucks on the curb as I’ve stated multiple times, and because the only other option is to flunk out and not get my degree, I figured I’d give it a try.

timing-is-everything-using-smm-to-be-two-steps-ahead-of-the-consumer-10-638

On a completely unrelated note:

I hate when the licensed therapists and doctors track me down on this peer counseling site and say “hi” to me and then don’t respond. It makes me feel like they’re stalking me or judging how I’m talking to members or surfing through my account or something.

It’s like when you’re driving in a car, and there’s a car parked on the side of the road, and as soon as you pass them they turn on their lights and pull out behind you. Don’t tell me they weren’t waiting  to follow me, because at that moment I won’t believe you. 

I’m sure my mild paranoia will safe my life one day.

Anyway, College. University. Going to the university where one man woke up to find his roommate standing over him with a knife and then was stabbed repeatedly in the chest and back last February.

One thing about this university is that the academic programs are great.

I’ll say it’s safe to assume the University’s mental health ones are not.

Definitely will not be living in the dorms. 

Thoughts #2

We’re losing all the icons man, Prince dead at 57, wasn’t expecting to wake up to that this morning. Soon we’re going to be left with Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift and Skrillex as our icons, and the majority of the kids of the next generation aren’t going to know the satisfaction of playing a real instrument or experience true talent beyond someone pressing the space bar on a laptop or flicking the auto-tune button in a studio.

phoenix_auto-tune-illo-path

I’ve been thinking a lot about this kind of stuff lately, the fragility of human beings. Not in a nihilistic or depressive sense, I’ve just been thinking about it.

It’s one reason I do admire my philosophy professor.  She’s very open about the way she thinks and believes in the reality we observe every day without paying any mind.

The password on her computer is over twenty characters, supposedly to keep out hackers, students, or hacking students or student hackers. Perhaps even colleagues, I don’t know. When she screws up on a key, we have to wait another five minutes for her to type it out. That’s how long it is.

I too share the paranoia of hackers–and it’s well justified these days. If I had a dollar for every time Nigeria and China hacked one of my damn Gmail accounts, I’d have enough to fund the L.A trip I’m taking this summer. 

She doesn’t like being video taped or recorded in any sense. Because my college is small, and the professors are surfers and pot heads even if they don’t identify as them and are usually chill about being recorded, I’ve never came across a professor who loathes it as much as this woman. She allows students to do so only if they’ve given her early notice and even then she lets you know how much she hates it.

One kid tried to sneak in a phone video and I thought heads were going to be chopped off. He’d slouched in his chair with his Iphone 6+ (yeah, the 5.7 inch one) and the camera light on facing her as she went on one of her infamous energetic rants. She caught sight of the light out of the corner of her eye and fell silent abruptly, pointed at the dumbass and said “Are you recording me?”

He shifted in his seat and lowered the camera a bit. She repeated herself and the room went cold.

Every fight I’d conquered in BloodBorne flashed behind my eyes at this moment. I was hoping we’d be bathing in student entrails.

selfheal

He said, “Well, It’s just because I think you’re so great. It’s a compliment.”

She didn’t buy his excuse, shuffled on over to his side of the room, leaned over the balcony in the front of the lecture hall as close to him as she could possibly get, smiled, and calmly informed him she would snatch his phone and smash it to pieces on the concrete, she’d done it many times before and wouldn’t be afraid to do it again.

The best part about all of this was the student had really white skin, so his entire self turned into a beet. 

I too hate being video taped. Perhaps not to that extent, it’s pictures that bother me the most. I’ve had my share of moments I’ve threw someone’s phone to the ground because they wouldn’t get it out of my face.

does-time-exist-blabberpoShe’s just as forgetful as I am, in terms of the things people called “important”. You know, like time. And dates. She’s never late, but she always forgets which times our class is at, what time it ends, and what days they’re on, even this late in the semester. She’s had this problem since she was a child, she said, because she doesn’t believe time exists, nor does she believe reality exists. That was the introductory sentence to our class. She wouldn’t explain why, much to my dismay, and if I didn’t have social anxiety I would be in her office hours asking her her theory and justification to see if it overlaps with mine. Because I tend to believe the same.

If there’s a yell or a shout or a loud noise somewhere, or even someone’s phone ringing, she always pauses in the middle of the lecture, stares at us for a moment, and asks us if we heard that. We all say yes and she continues. I laughed the first time that happened because it’s true, you can never quite know how real something is when you don’t believe in this reality. I think everyone else thinks it’s just some weird quirk of hers, and I think she plays it up for entertainment purposes in terms of class, but I understand the logic behind it, that’s the most entertaining part for me.

She goes on tangents too, that’s the best part. Sometimes they’re relevant, sometimes they’re irrelevant, and sometimes they’re just plain nonsensical but in a relevant way if that makes sense.

But attending her lectures and moving on in life always gets me thinking about how much we don’t know, and how much we think we know. It gets me thinking about how centered we are on ourselves as a species and how strange it is we’ve developed so many different ideals and cultures and languages and how much stranger it is that we become so self-centered we feel we have a right to tell someone else their behavior is abnormal.

I just think it’s all weird.

To be quite honest, I’m bored, that’s my problem.

cat-says-im-bored-amuse-me

I’m bored with people who think money is valuable for anything other than survival, I’m bored with working, I’m bored with our “education”, I’m bored with standards, I’m bored with rules, I’m bored with “normality”. Maybe it’s just my twenties talking, just as my teens spoke well in the language of nihilism.

But this boredom isn’t like “Oh i’m bored with rules so let me go steal a car and stab someone in the eye”.

This boredom is like “Why am I not allowed to steal a car and stab someone in the eye? Why is that bad? I’m confused“.

This boredom is like “why do people waste their time with this petty reality? What gives them the confidence that this reality is reality? I haven’t seen any proof to convince me anything existing in this moment actually exists.

This boredom is like “What allows us to plan for a future we’re not guaranteed? Why do our brains just casually skip over the fact that we could all drop dead right now? I bet it’s hiding something from us. What prevents me from dropping dead this second?”

This boredom is like “Where are the fucking aliens? I’m bored of humans.” 

This boredom is like “I can’t even ‘go against the grain’ without being clumped into a whole other group ‘going against the grain’ so am I really going against the grain?”

Humanity bores me, basically. Jobs and family and material things and enjoyment and sadness and everything is labeled as significant without any proof of any of them being significant. I’m bored with that. Life gets much more interesting if I try and construct it through the eyes of someone who sees no significance in anything, but only sits back and observes the chaos.

 

Depression. Period.

depressed young man sitting on the bench

Depression.

Depression sucks. 

It sucks worse when someone calls it a choice.

If you think that’s what happened to me, you’d be wrong. In fact, my depression isn’t acting up at all right now. Mine comes in waves, strong ones, usually resulting from me screwing myself over, someone else screwing me over, or me just sick of feeling emotionally confused. Otherwise I tend to be rather blank. Not externally, that I fake, but internally yes. And I enjoy that. I enjoy that without feeling joy, because. . .

because I’m blank so . . .

so It’d be kind of hard to feel the joy of it all.

Now anger . .  . that’s a whole separate beast in itself.

cheer-up-smileyAnyway, when I am deeply depressed and wondering if there is a point to anything at all, if there is even a point to fighting it or coping with it or learning to accept it, I hate when people tell me “cheer up” or “stop being so negative” as if I’m choosing to be intensely negative, as if that’s something I strive to do in my daily life. 

Now, let’s pause.

Mostly because this is a touchy subject for those of us with depression. We know we hate people who tell us our depression is a choice. That’s like telling someone with Cancer to stop choosing to have cancer, or someone struggling in active psychosis to stop having psychosis.

But we’re also aware that because depression is something everyone has experienced at least once in their life (not on a clinical level, but on a basic level), it’s hard for them to separate our experiences from their own experiences. We understand that they figure because they can snap out of it, we should be able to snap out of it just as easily. We’re aware that they’re not fully understanding our situation, but they aren’t.

That being said, they do have a point.

*Shields face from angry people*

street-standup-3

Just kidding, I’ve honestly never given a shit if people don’t like what I have to say.

I care, but it’s a different kind of care.

Whatever, that’s off topic. The point is there does come a point where we do have a choice. We have a choice to consistently tell ourselves that we don’t have any choices, we’re stuck like this, we’re doomed to live like this and die like this. If you’re telling yourself that, you’re making a choice to do so. And making that choice only further progresses your mindset.

If you don’t believe that, well then I don’t know what to tell you. Because nothing I tell you will convince you otherwise. And it’s not my job to convince you that you have choices in life, that’s something you either need to realize for yourself or never take advantage of. 

While I agree that no one chooses to have depression, I disagree that there aren’t some people who choose to take part in maladaptive thought behavior patterns, even when you’ve exposed those patterns to them. It’s often the case for SOME people (NOT ALL) who take therapy and come out saying it didn’t help them.

Assuming your therapist wasn’t a complete prick, how much effort did you put in?

effortresults

Did you do the exercises? Did you enact coping mechanisms and discuss which ones work for you and which ones don’t?

Or did you go in expecting them to do the work for you because, well, shit, you just can’t do anything right?

Hey, hey, don’t give me that look, there are people out in the world who act like this. Yes, I struggle with depression and self harm and anxiety and this and that and blah, blah, we could be here all day going through diagnoses and criterion, so I empathize with these people. What I don’t empathize with is their unwillingness to work on themselves. 

What, you expect a magic fairy psychologist to land on your head, tap your hair, zap your brain with some fairy dust that you hope isn’t just cocaine, and “poof!”, you’re all better?

I don’t think so.

If the world worked like that, we’d all be cocaine addicts.

1156971

Which I mean, if you think about things practically, at least we wouldn’t have an overcrowding of people on the planet. Life spans would be significantly shorter.

Let’s not knock it before we try it.

Quick fixes. That’s what we’re obsessed with. If you’re not willing to work on yourself or break your back trying to change the way you think, that negative pattern, than I guess you really are up shit creek without a paddle.

Quick fix for the overpopulation issue? Gas half of the population against their will and bury them or launch their bodies into space. That’s a quick fix. Would you condone that?

If you won’t condone that, why do you condone pressuring yourself to find a quick cure for your issues? Remember, if you can’t will a world in which everyone would follow what you do, in which your actions become normality without contradiction, you’re acting unethically, and this applies to yourself and to others.

In other words, if everyone in the entire world tried to fix themselves with quick fix magic, well, it wouldn’t work because 1) magic doesn’t exist and 2) neither do the quick fixes, everyone would be searching for something that doesn’t exist. So there’s your contradiction.

It’s important to see that while you may not have put yourself in this situation deliberately, you are in this situation and therefore you’ve got to manage it. That’s that age-old argument you had with your parents and siblings when you were a kid. Your brother left his dirty dish on the table and your parents tell you to clean it and you say “I didn’t put there!”

So what? You live in the household, you can pitch in every now and then. You can take control and manage something that you didn’t ask for.

It’s such a simple concept that’s so hard to enact in ourselves. That I also empathize with. You get so used to being in one mindset that even when people point out the faults to you, you find reasons for why their wrong and end up keeping yourself in that same cycle.

vnc4mgc
Mean Trick

Depression makes you feel as if you’re out of control of how you feel and what you feel. It’s playing a trick on you, a mean one. You may not have had a choice in developing depression, but you have a choice in whether you want to live according to it’s rules or not.