Positivity Counts

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If I had the creative ability at the moment I would write an ode to the woman in the black Mercedes with the brain the size of a pinball and an ode to the rehabilitation center with the monotonous workers who only cracked a smile at each other at the sound of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” blasting over the radio, I would.

Alas, I have a headache.

And thinking about them makes the headache worse.

Today I figured I’d focus on ways to stay positive instead of ranting about why I’m so negative, for the sake of my readers and for the sake of myself. Because staying positive, or calm, or content, is not as easy as staying negative.

My above encounters with those people today are two of the main reasons I 1) have a headache and 2) had to coax myself down from more road rage and rage in general and 3) had to find ways to be positive.

I think I singed my hair.

The rage. It seeped out of my pores like molten lava and coated my curls. Now I’m bald.

See kids, that’s what rage does to you. It makes you bald. 

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Today started off with general annoyances I tend to overreact to. I couldn’t find my wallet. I lost my water bottle. I was nervous. I took too long of a shower and had to rush out the door.

Enter bullshit #1: TRAFFIC

  • Cars are the bane of my existence. No, I take that back: people who drive cars are the bane of my existence. I drive a car. I am the bane of my existence. But not as much as these other people. 20 Mph in a 30 zone? Hit the fucking gas pedal you old hag! Some people need to piss in a cup in a nurses office in fifteen minutes! mjaxmy04zdk3ntcwnjg2njuyztuy
  • Tourists are also somehow meandering around town. One woman in a black Mercedes was driving 10 mph in a 25 zone, trying to figure out whether she needed to turn left or right. She hit two right turns before serving back into the street in front of me and deciding to go left. Only, she never put on her blinkers. No, she looked me dead in the fucking eye from her side mirror and veered left without signaling. Looked right at me. Looked at the line of cars behind me. And decided to be a bitch. How do you come to such a conclusion? What kind of faulty wiring do you have in your head? Did a toddler line your neurons with play-dough because you’re acting like a child.59002642

I arrived at Human Resources to take my drug test, which I’ve been preparing for. Since I’m not a chronic marijuana user (once or twice every six months), I just flushed my liver with some water and got all those pesky THC metabolites out of there. I drank some juice before I went in the office so they wouldn’t get suspicious over transparent urine.

I filled out paperwork. I walked down the block and across the street to the nurses office. The results of these really simple urine tests are practically instant. And yet, I had to walk back down the block and back to HR just for the lady to say “you passed.”

Then I had an appointment with a physical therapist for a “back exam”, as required.

They didn’t tell me you had to wear special attire. Which means I had to drive back across town to get home, and then back across town to the physical therapists office.

Enter Bullshit #2: Rehabilitation Center

  • As soon as I stepped in the door a woman looked up from her computer and barked “Photo ID”. I handed her the item. She looked at it and said “you sit down now”. So I sat down. It took her a good five minutes to find me in the computer and scan my license, then walked around the corner and handed it to me. She should have handed me her fucking attitude so I could smash it in the ground instead of her face. 
  • *Breathe*fff58818-02e0-4fab-958a-46b4a431384d
  • My appointment was at 1:30pm. I arrived promptly at 1:25. The office was small, there was only one room for physical therapy and a break room and maybe five employees and that’s including the two receptionists. There was an older woman sitting beside me who’d been there before I came. She was falling asleep. I watched those workers walk back and forth about fifty times. I also watched the clock. Which ticked . . . and ticked . . . and ticked . . .
  • I saw the physical therapist at 2:00pm. I saw him so he could tell me to turn my head to left, to the right, upward, to turn my upper body to the left and to the right, and to squat. I then lifted 45 pounds three times. It took three and a half minutes.
  • Three and a half minutes.
  • I waited a half an hour.
  • For three and a half minutes. y4r5xy0sys9ztwbllqbs

Now to some people these kinds of things are just daily stressors. For me, they’re infuriating. I have admitted more than once that I have an anger problem, and I always try and relax before I drive because I know it’s dangerous to speed the way I do, to yell and flip off people the way I do. I’m aware of my behavior and that’s the first step.

I also know I snap at people. I’ve been known to batter certain people with my opinion until they give up, or if someone gives me a “look” I don’t like, I’ll call them out on it. I’ve been known to not give a shit; I will call you stupid. I get into heated arguments over dumb shit and I’ve been notorious for letting said dumb shit ruin my day.

At least I try and realize how I fucking act, instead of miss stuck up little receptionist who probably gets paid 18 dollars an hour to be a straight up bitch. 

So, in general, how do I stay positive?

  1. I always remind myself there are two sides to a situation. Maybe the woman at the Rehab center was having a particularly bad day and didn’t have the self-control to not let her anger boil over onto me. In the same way, even though I had a negative experience at that particular time, the actual physical therapist was insanely kind and his three and a half minutes made up for that woman’s atrocious customer service. If there’s a negative in a situation, there is always a positive; sometimes you just have to look for it.
  2. I remind myself it’s alright to be negative. Obviously in dealing with depression, you develop a certain level of comfort in the negativity. But you never let yourself be “okay” with that negativity. Instead, you just tell yourself there’s something wrong with you, that you’re horrible and that you’re this and that. There’s nothing wrong with being negative just like there’s nothing wrong with being positive. As long as you can develop the tools to never let that negativity consume your soul (which is a life process and easier said than done when living with depression) you’ll find yourself enjoying every human emotion. I hate on myself all the time; you all know I have a history of self harm and other such un-pleasantries. I’m barely learning how to acknowledge those types of thoughts and how to accept them and let them stay there wallowing in their own pile of filth so I can get on with my day.
  3. If I feel myself slipping away, I engage myself in activities that get my brain focused. Sometimes that’s math, sometimes it’s writing, singing, anything to help combat that nagging feeling of falling over the edge. Keeping busy is a good way to combat depression or depressive feelings. It might keep you from falling into that dreaded state of “bed rest”. I’ve been there too many times to let myself get back there without a good fight.
  4. Go outside. I have social anxiety disorder too and I still try and go outside. It sucks, but I do it. In fact I hate it with a passion, but I do it.
  5. I realize positivity isn’t as simple as “being positive”. I think a lot of people wish that were the case. But being positive when you’re so used to feeling negative takes a lot of time and effort. It requires you think differently. It requires you recognize when your negativity is inappropriate, even if you feel like you can’t change it. I’m talking about the people who have such automatic thoughts that when you say something nice to them, they automatically combat it with what’s wrong with them or something else bad. I do that. I used to do it a lot more often, but I realize that the words I was saying weren’t entirely true; they were almost a figment of my imagination. Sometimes it’s hard to see that your mind is playing tricks on you.

I’m sure you all have good ways that work for you so you can share them below if you want. If you can’t think of any . . . well, there’s a good starting point.

The Promiseland

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How/where would I be if I did not tussle with my mental health?

It’s a question I’m sure many of us have asked ourselves.

What kind of job would I work if I could hold a job?

What kind of people would I meet if I understood conversation?

What activities would I take part in during the day if I weren’t spending the majority of my effort swinging my feet to the floor and getting into the shower in the midst of negative thoughts?

How many more classes would I be done with if my social anxiety didn’t take the reins on my decisions?

For all the days I wasted with suicidal ideation and self-harming, would those days have been replaced with something positive?

How much sleep would I get without health anxiety, paranoia, and intrusive thoughts?

Insomnia

I think those are relevant questions for many of us, regardless of diagnosis differences. 

Whenever I start pitying myself, these are the types of questions that swirl in my consciousness, and although they appear to be questions which harbor negative answers and negative ideation, I’m a logical mind highly capable of understanding there are two sides to everything. If there is a negative answer to a question, there is also a positive answer.

If there is a north pole, there is a south pole.

If the sun rises, it’s also going to set.

If you die in a video game, your life will restart. Don’t believe me? Play Bloodborne and rage your life away.

One person’s death may spark life in another.

90% of the situations I can bring to my consciousness at the moment have their positive and negative opposites because life is about balance. We ride the plank high and low and trample over each other in attempts to get as close to the center as possible.

how_to_balance-600x337You’re never going to reach a perfect center; it’s not logical. Our physical life is much too randomized for you to be in perfect harmony 100% of the time. I accepted that many years ago. It teaches you to cherish the moments in which harmony and happiness do exist, but to not cherish it in a way that indicates you’ll never feel those feelings again. Life has a haphazard way of imitating circular patterns and yet veering off at the most inconvenient times into the unknown. It’s like it watches your every move and plans a silent attack.

The harrowing thing about depression, anxiety, and many other unbalanced responses to the world are that they are both necessary and disabling.

The brain is a prime example of the center of a beam. It thrives on balance and moderation. If your electrical activity flies off the handle, you very well may end up with a seizure.

It adapts to new situations. If you’re a cab driver, your hippocampus will shrink in the front and grow larger in the back to hold street and navigation memory.

It has little hiccups though, it’s not entirely centered. Nothing can be, remember? You can hear voices without ever having Schizophrenia. You can feel immense sadness for a few months and never develop a depressive disorder. You can have bad mood swings that aren’t indicative of a Bipolar disorder or Borderline PD.

self-evaluationmarking-set-of-three-faces-stamper-with-storage-box-classmatesWhat are mental health disorders? They’re not solely chemical imbalances. They’re not brain abnormalities. They’re not a reason to hate yourself. They may be disorders–because we label them as such–but they are also  unbalanced humanity. Many of them are normal reactions to simply existing as living beings, and we label them abnormal because the reactions are either above the average person’s reaction level, or below.

I can remember feeling anxiety and uncomfortable outside or around loud noises the strongest around the age of 4, or 5, so although I’m only 20, I’ve dealt with it for many years and I’ve had the opportunity to attend mental health conventions with professionals and interact in other settings with people who label themselves sick, who label themselves broken, who label themselves “uncurable”.

And I decided years ago I don’t want to be one of those people. What am I going to cure? My humanity? How the fuck am I going to do that?

My anxiety wasn’t solely birthed through some trauma or bullying as a child, like it is for many, mine was just there. And the further I coursed through life, the more the symptoms accentuated and tuned me to the frequency of the wreck I am today. While most people get nervous doing, say, a public speaking event, and they sweat and practice for hours in front of the mirror, I’m worrying of it a year before I have to do it.

I did that my freshman year in high school over a two minute presentation we were told we wouldn’t have to worry about until the end of the year.

38f7b400-47f4-0133-0a83-0e76e5725d9dI’ll ruminate over what could happen and will happen and when I get in front of people my Amygdala is “hijacked” and I forget every word I also spent hours practicing for. I read into the expressions of the people around me and see pure hatred and disrespect, negativity, I see it plain as day, even though it’s not there. It’s like a hallucination: only I can see it and when I ask other people if it’s there, they say no and look at me like I just tore up a winning jackpot lottery ticket. Then I spend years reminding myself how stupid I looked and sounded and how many people still laugh about it every day.

That is a normal response accentuated. That is this “disorder”.

I understand fully the breakthroughs of neuroscience and research psychiatry, I’m all over those articles the second they come out in the journals. And I understand there is a lot of validity behind chemical changes and differences. My problem is with categorizing a myriad of humanly differences into one, abnormal category. My problem is with soley blaming our chemicals, our bodies, for symptoms of something we call “disorders” when in reality life is full of reasons for why people act the way they do. Yes, medication helps even out those who jump between the severely manic and severely depressed. But don’t forget Cognitive Therapy helps them learn their triggers and how to cope with stress; how you think influences your behavior, whether you’re disordered or not.

Genes play a part. Chemicals play a part. Cells play a part. Environment plays a part. Society and Religion plays a part. Why do you think people in certain places of India hear voices that recite positive words day after day, have voices that claim they are “God” who tell them “hey, good job on that” and here in the western part of the world, voices heard often much more violent?

Our brains respond heavily to the environment we’re in, regardless of genes or predisposition. I wish I had the source of that article, but it’s been a few years since I’ve read it.

If you’re wondering, yes, I do think many (NOT ALL) people are misdiagnosed and I think many disorders being added to the DSM year after year are starting to diagnose normality. 

It’s pretty arrogant, if you ask me, to think something as complicated as human behavior can be summed up with one or two neurotransmitters.

So when I start asking myself those questions from the beginning, I remind myself that part of my “disorders” are just me being human. Yes, I struggle, yes my functioning is impaired by them, yes it’s horrible, yes, blah, blah blah, whatever!

I like myself. I like my personality and I can’t keep comparing my lives to other people’s.

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It meant the world to me that my boyfriend today acknowledged the fact that it’s okay that I have my anxiety (among other, ha, issues) and that he can see I’m making progress, however small, and that it’s not easy. No one’s ever said something like that to me and for a moment I was in shock. I didn’t actually realize the depths of his words until a few hours ago.

I know I’m not perfect (who is, right?). I know I have things I want to work on and I know I have a personal goal to reach. I know I’m not sick, or stupid, or held back by anyone but myself. So honestly, I don’t care what kind of job I’d have if I didn’t struggle as much as I do. I don’t care who I’d meet or where I’d be, or how fast I’d get through my classes. None of that matters because hypotheticals are useless. I only care who I do meet, what classes I do take, and what kind of job I’ll eventually have.

I could give two shits less about my non-existent twin. She can go be extroverted and whiz through university and work at amazing places by herself. I like where I am and what I’m learning.

Give It A Pat

If you are still recovering from a stressful holiday season, pat yourself on the back.

If you had a bad day at work today, pat yourself on the back.

If you’ve been arguing with your brain all day like I have, pat yourself on the back.

If you’ve been struggling with negativity, pat yourself on the back.

If you’re a recovering addict and you’ve been struggling with that recovery extra hard lately, pat yourself on the back.

If you’re a rageaholic who managed to not yell at that stupid piece of shit fucker that cut you off in traffic today . . . definitely pat yourself on the back. And maybe drink some tea. And do some Tai Chi.

If you’ve been feeling hopeless but you’ve been pushing onward, pat yourself on the back.

If you’ve been working on yourself and your life, pat yourself on the back.

If you’re doing well for yourself and happy for once in your life, you can pat yourself on the back too.

If you don’t feel like you have a reason to pat yourself on the back, do it anyway. You deserve it.

Support Of The Non-Existence Kind

Spent an hour juicing internet from my phone.

*Breathes; Does Thai Chi, smacks politician in the face, screams “Just Do It!!!!” at some golfers on a golf course, and finally falls to knees thankful the wifi gods have graced me once more*

Anyway, I had some plans to do some cool portrait photos outside with my friend but woke up at nine fifteen this morning to the sound of nuclear warheads battling it out with the Greek gods in the sky.

Turns out it was just thunder.

Lightening flashed, Thunder hit a split second later and the power surged. After the thunder paused, the power came back on. I think the street lines got scared.

It stormed for a few hours, thunder shook the entire apartment complex, all the pipes are backed up, it rained, it hailed briefly and now it’s sunny. All within the course of about five hours. Who knows what the fuck goes on in this town.

I also learned I have to pay back all the financial aid I received this semester on account of my mental breakdown and that really bummed me out. I’ve already spent some of it. It’s funny that when I vent and express my bummed-outness to people, the response I get is either

*crickets chirping*

or

“Well, I don’t know what you want me to say”.

At least I never get “Well that sucks” or “I told you so”. Those answers would just make me fly off the handle.

I’ve always had financial support. Yes, I’ve been on the street but we had money to eat and eventually hop around from hotel to hotel to basement to tent to random ass room in a house (oh man, do I have some stories from that place; I’ll probably tell one now), so I’ve never had to be on the side of the road in a sleeping bag begging for food. We were lucky we had so many connections in town. A lot of people aren’t that lucky. So I’m grateful for that and I’m not trying to seem ungrateful but . . . emotional support? It’s non-existent.

I’m always amazed at people who can speak to their parents or family or siblings about their suicidal thoughts and such. In fact, I’ve always been amazed at people who can speak freely at all to their parents, family, or siblings, whether it’s about mental health or not. I’ve always been constricted to talking to outside events with them. If not, I either get the silent, stressed-out treatment from my mother or the defensive stance from my father. I’m always the shoulder to cry on for the people I’ve been friends with in the pass, and I absolutely enjoyed being their for them, but I never realized how often I’m alone to deal with my own issues.

It’s not easy.

*Yes nature, cue the darkening of my room. Thank you for the added atmosphere.*

I think a cloud blocked the sun.

Anyway, I’m not asking for people to give me sympathy or let me curl on their lap while they pet my head and feed me ice cream. I’d just like someone to, for once, say “It’ll be okay” or “you’ll get past this” or, in response to my financial situation say “money is money, you can give it back to them, you’re not a loser, you’re just having a rough patch everyone has rough patches, you’re not a failure”. Something along those lines. I can tell myself that all I want but when I heard it from a third party, in person especially, it’s so wonderful. If anything, it boosts the confidence of my positive side. I’m always searching for reassurance for my decisions, another issues of mine, so when I receive it I feel a little more stable. Right now I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing with my life anymore. I don’t want to go talk to a counselor at my college, I don’t want to deal with financial aid, I don’t want to be put on academic probation–I’ve never been that student.

In the rational part of my mind, which also happens to be the back, black abyss part that is rarely ever exercised, knows it’s not the end of the world or the end of my college career, but the irrational part of me, the one in front playing puppet master convinces me it is. Just like it convinced me I was hacking up blood yesterday and was going to die of a pulmonary embolism. In reality I had just eaten salsa and had to cough and it happened to be stained a little red. Tends to happen when you eat something red, you know?

Anyway, stayed up until 6 am believing if I closed my eyes I’d die in my sleep, so I got three hours of sleep also.

If you’ve ever experienced that type of medical health issue, I’m sorry if I sound ridiculous right now, I know how serious it is; I’m not trying to be offensive, this is just how my brain acts.

Now, I promised a bit of a story, right?

My family knew a lot of people from the apartment complex we lived in before the one we currently live in–we’d been there for about five years. One of the women (she had twin daughters) moved out before us so when we needed a place to stay, she offered us a room in the back of her house.

This is the house where my dog phobia was forcefully cured.

She fostered dogs regularly, as I’ve said before.

Anyway, our room considered of . . . a fucking room. And a bathroom. My mother and I slept on four mattresses piled on the floor and my father slept on the floor in front of the television.

This is not the house where my spider phobia was cured, however, because my spider phobia is fucking incurable. Those things are demons. This room had so many daddy-long-legs they were probably crawling in my mouth and laying eggs in my esophagus, laughing at my insolence. They enjoyed descending from the ceiling atop my face in the shower, so often I took one with my face at the ceiling. Or I took one half out of the shower and half in the shower. Honestly, I was just glad to have a shower; the last place we had been at I had to take bathes in the bathroom sink because the bathroom was only a toilet.

Anyway, things were cool until shit hit the fan. Things are usually cool until that point, right?

This woman drunk so many bottles of jack and took so many pills I don’t know how her body . . . she was like a cockroach. She’d survive the apocalypse with some painkillers and some jack and not even notice the earth imploding in on itself.

A functioning addict, if I ever saw one. She kept her job, paid her bills, maintained her house (sort of; her daughters did most of the work) and spent the weekends slamming her head into the wall threatening suicide. The paramedics came every week and eventually learned our names too. Them and my father were pretty good friends.

Her twin daughters were adults at this point, I believe . . . maybe 17, whatever, I don’t know. They had a lot of friends over. One was a lesbian and the other was not and their room was chalk full of kinky shit like whips and paddles and handcuffs and when all their friends came over I’m pretty sure they had a nice little orgy up there like no one’s business. Except, they were loud. The moans were loud. It was very obvious. So I’m not pretty sure, I’m absolutely sure.

Sex was explained to me (very appropriately and informatively) when I was eight years old and again when I was ten. By twelve, I knew what it was and I could pretty much guess when it was happening.

That knowledge when I was young helped me make better decisions when I was older. When kids came to me with bullshit rumors about getting pregnant by swallowing I dispelled that shit so quick their eyebrows singed and their eyes rolled back in their head. I was the go-to kid if you wanted to know about sex. Sounds wrong.

Anyway, for some reason the people in this house really loved to smile in our face and hatchet us in the back. The family suddenly stopped speaking with us or smiling with us or saying thank you for taking care of their suicidal mother and instead posted a sign on our door (printer paper, blue scotch tape, and black sharpie pen) stating “WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE”.

Then they slashed three tires on our 1972 Ford Ranchero; our only mode of transportation at the time. We couldn’t afford to fix it, so it got taken to the junk yard. It wasn’t junk.

I loved that car. I still love that car. Fuck them.

If you don’t have the balls to come and talk to someone in their face, than you’re a coward. The house has been demolished; the lot is empty. That’s karma.

Honesty is the best policy. Especially when brutal.

I Can Fly And Shoot Lazers From My Eyes At ISIS: Vote For Me In 2020

I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to write about today.

I write daily, if you haven’t figured it out yet for whatever reason . . .  but I do write daily. It’s a hassle sometimes, I won’t lie, because I usually sit at the keyboard with a blank mind and get sucked into Fail videos on YouTube for about five hours. In fact, I just got done watching Bad Lip Reading of the NFL for the millionth time. If you haven’t seen those videos, you better truck yo ass on over to the YouTube and watch it; it’ll give you a much needed laugh.

Anyway, I just want to take a moment and say thanks to everyone who supports my posts with likes and comments. You all always have the most interesting responses, and some of the most meaningful, and it really does my heart well to see people who are enthusiastic about writing, about mental health, about reading, about positivity, about bettering themselves . . . all of that helps restore a little faith in humanity. You are all amazing. Thank you so, so, so much for the support. 

Like most people, I started this blog not really knowing what I could to do with it. However, I didn’t start it drunk one night on a whim, I planned it very meticulously. I knew I wanted to speak about my struggles, but I didn’t want to make it about me, I wanted to make it about all of us; a place that outlined personal struggles and tied them to the rest of society. We’re all in this together.

I was sick of people giving me weird looks when I said “I’m studying to be a psychiatrist” because of all the stereotypes they hear about people with mental health issues.

Don’t think us studying the subject aren’t scrutinized even more: you have to be crazy to want to work with crazies, right?

Idiots.

At any rate, I started this blog a couple months ago as a way to dispel stereotypes and bring to light things we don’t seem to talk about. You know, Big Pharma sneaking their way into everyone’s lives and ripping people off, Insurance Company scams . . . things you as a mental health patient may not even know about.

So I didn’t start this in the cliche “make you feel less alone” idea, but that’s always in the back of my mind. How could I ever think of being a mental health professional and only base my knowledge off my own experiences or the words of a textbook? I love learning about how you all see things, how you see yourselves, how you see your life and what you’ve learned from your struggles. As a future doctor, I’m focused on your health, not the insurance companies’. I’m so thankful you’re all willing to share a bit of who you are with the world. It’s good for you and it’s good for us. So thank you.

Professionals who think they know their borderline patient because they read about it in med school have the IQ of a table cloth. Don’t even waste your time. You’re not the one with the problem in that situation.

It’s a matter of ethics and a matter of truth. If you think it’s alright to treat one patient like every other patient than you’re mistaken; you have no vision of humanity and no respect for the uniqueness in every human being.

Speaking of truth, and laughter and positivity, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk more shit about Ben Carson. I’m not big into Politics. It might seem like I am. I swear I’m not. But how can anyone pass up talking shit about straight up ignorance?

You all hear about the story of him saying he took a class at Yale called “Perceptions 301” where his professor came in, said all the final exams burned and that the students would need to retake it. Everyone walked out except for him and his professor congratulated him, claiming the burning of exams was a hoax and that he was looking for the most honest student in the class. His professor then gave him ten dollars. Someone for the Yale Daily took his picture.

There was no such picture ever found and no class listed as “Perceptions 301” during his years at Yale.

If I were Yale at this point, with their long list of ignorant politicians as “graduates”, I’d stop admitting they even attended. I mean it’s just embarrassing at this point. It’s bad enough Ivy League’s just take people’s money and admit students . . . you’re not even sending them out as good people, they’re getting worse if anything. Spoiled brats.

You all ever read words by the Harvard president? That guy is a moron. I read an essay from a Harvard professor who went deep into detail about the corruption in Ivy Leagues and how depressing it is. When I find it again, I’ll go into better detail.

So my point is, Yale, You already got a bad rap. I’d stay away from aspiring politicians.

Anyway, it all goes back to the truth. Carson’s telling all this stories for the purpose of? Does he think it makes him look gallant and admirable? Does he think people are going to believe his bullshit when there are people hired to specifically background check these liars?

The funniest part there are probably still some people who still believe him.

This is what happens when you’re selfish. If he was thinking about the “people of America” or whoever they pretend to care about, there’d be no reason to lie, no reason to buff himself up, no reason to boast about Yale or money or anything. Instead, he’s running around like a chicken with his head cut off–or shoved up his ass, one or the other–and about to get shoved off a cliff by these investigating media junkies.

I’d recommend he contact a local individual diagnosed with Antisocial personality so he can learn how to lie and manipulate. Talk to a corporate executive or something. He can’t be a good politician without those skills.

I’m just trying to help. Watching anyone crash and burn is honestly very uncomfortable for me. I mean . . . the stupidity is so astounding that I don’t know what to do with my hands when I read his bullshit. I’ve slapped myself on accident because they just get so flustered and start waving around looking for something to hit.

I don’t think any black folks gunna be voting for Carson because he’s black. That’s a . . . that’s evident.

Bottom line ya’ll, focus on the truth.

Our country is just layers upon layers upon Donald Trumps hair, and we’re not going to survive much longer this way. It’s time to get controversial. Open your mouth, be loud, get angry. I do it all the time. Know when to be polite and when to defend yourself. And if you can’t defend yourself in your honor, defend yourself in everyone else’s honor.

I say we all rush the pentagon.

Too far? Yeah maybe a little too far.

At least get loud and angry. If enough of us do it, it’ll have to be listened to.

The Sniffling, Sneezing, Coughing, Aching, Best-Sleep-You’ve-Ever-Had-With-A-Mental-Illness, Medicine

Warning: Controversy ahead. Not for the easily offended.

Nyquil, Don’t sue me for that title. I’ll key your car.

Anywhoooo . . . Nights for me are lonely.

I’ll take you through my process last night.

I often revert into bad habits of thinking–I’m worthless, I’ll never be “normal”, I’ll never get where I want to be, I can’t handle this, or life, or living, and I’ll never be able to. I think because my texts aren’t answered instantaneously, I’m not cared about. I feel guilty for being so emotionally needy and I feel guilty for ignoring the fact that people have their own lives and can’t dedicate 100% of their time to me. I feel even worse that I don’t have my own life–and that I wouldn’t know how to if I did. I don’t feel independent; going outside by myself is one of the hardest things for me to do. I get frustrated that I can’t feel safe–it’s not like I live in the Bronx with meth addicts–and I get frustrated knowing that this is the feeling I’ve been fighting all my life without ever having known it. I’m hurt my potential is being squashed by these habits. It’s costing me a lot of money, a lot of time, and whenever I take a leap forward and feel so good about myself, so hopeful, so thankful, I dive off the edge of a cliff into an abyss and fall just as quickly backwards fifty steps.

So what to do in this situation? Do I curl on the edge of my bed and whine and cry and scream in my pillow? Eh, sometimes. But I hate being uncomfortable and those thoughts are very uncomfortable for me. So I look for ways to distract myself.

Books are always my first go-to distraction. My professor let me borrow one by the title of “Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage”, of which I technically am, and some of the first passages I read in that book soothed my soul. Obviously I was never connected to any of my culture as a child and there were no others like me around. As the book states very blatantly, I was around people at school and in public, e.t.c. who couldn’t appreciate my background because they knew nothing about it. I was cast aside before I ever knew what an outcast was. I learned in school my ancestors were either torn apart by white invaders or put in chains as submissive slaves. Do you understand what that does to a child? It’s funny, they don’t teach about all the rebellions the Indians and the Africans caused, they don’t teach about their successes against their oppressors, and they don’t talk about the alliances formed by Africans and Indians and the peacefulness between them. Instead they teach of cultural genocide to continue cultural genocide.

For that, I raise a middle finger to the American education system. You’re pathetic. Go back to Europe and take your bullshit “democracy” with you.

Fuck Thanksgiving and fuck your Congress.

That’s a song lyric and I stand behind it 100%.

You don’t need one day to give thanks. Be Thankful everyday. Thanksgiving is a cop out.

Sure, you learned Fredrick Douglass was a runaway slave, but did you also know he was white, black, and American Indian?

If you took an accelerated history course, it was at least mentioned once that the Emancipation Proclamation had nothing to do with ending slavery–that was a “coincidental perk”, if you like. But you only spoke about it for thirty seconds.

All we ever learn about are western philosophies of government, too. You ever notice that?

You notice that you probably didn’t think about all the negativity in your life while reading that small paragraph?

Seriously, read a book, it helps.

But when my eyes get tired and I’m stuck in my own mind again, I start thinking. And last night I started thinking about all of you lovely people on WordPress, all of the lovely people who are addicted to social media and psychforums and such, and mostly about all of those in the aforementioned categories who struggle with their mental health. I got to thinking of all the posts I lurk around on and how I’ve read so many people who call themselves “sick”. They call their brain “sick”. They call themselves “ill” and they do it in a way that emits either a sense of pride for acknowledging it or a sense of learned helplessness.

I’m confused. Why do you all call yourself sick? I’m so very confused.

I’ve struggled with my mental health all my life, it’s never not caused me problems. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I have depression, you know I have my ups and downs, you know I have anxiety and anger outbursts and self-harm issues. But I’ve only once called myself sick and that was after I realized I had an actual diagnosis. This was around sixteen, seventeen. Then I thought about it and I laughed at myself and said “that’s the most ignorant name you’ve ever called yourself”.

I didn’t come to a conclusion on my own that I was “sick”. Someone told me I was. So I ask you, genuinely, who called you sick?

Despite what you think, you didn’t do it.

Probably the same system who told you the “founding fathers” of “America” were good people. The same system that taught you American History starts in 1492 with Columbus. The same system who skimmed past all the genocide of the American Natives in your history class. The same system who, if you’re African American, rarely ever spoke of the rebellion of your people against slavery in a good light besides a few obvious names (A.k.a Fredric Douglass).

What does “sick” or “ill” even mean? I picture a body under attack by another foreign body–a parasite, a bacterium, a virus. I picture a body that uses white blood cells in defense and demands more food to fuel it’s soldiers. I picture a body who needs a few days or a week to recover. I don’t, however, picture someone struggling day by day with their mental health, I don’t picture someone who has to take their medication to feel better or someone who drives an hour out of town to see the best psychologist then can twice a week. I don’t picture someone burning their skin with harmful intent or holding a gun to their head. I don’t picture someone in the bowels of depression or in the psychedelic field of psychosis. None of that is sick to me, it never has been.

A sickness is foreign. What you deal with in your mind is not foreign, it’s intertwined in you. You are the one who has to cope and struggle, and you’re the one who lives with it for most of your life. That’s not a sickness, that’s just a fact. It’s just you. And if you have a problem with that, then you have a problem with yourself and I’ll tell you right now, that’s not a pretty path to go down.

Calling yourself sick or ill is the equivalent of a special education child calling themselves retarded.

Don’t blame your struggles for your thought pattern or your actions. You have the ability to see yourself in a different light. Obviously if you’re in the middle of psychosis you’re not going to be able to stand up and say “wow, I should probably stop”, but there are some interesting people coming up with interesting therapies to combat symptoms of psychosis or of Bipolar or anything where a loss of all control is imminent. Soon we’ll see the real benefit of treating people like the humans they are.

This is the largest danger of diagnosis. How different would you see yourself if your psychologist/psychiatrist told you that you weren’t sick? If you went in to their office broken and instead of saying “yes, you’re broken, take fifty milligrams of ‘Killemal’, twenty grams of ‘Deludamol’, and come see me in another week” they said “you’re not ill, but you do have some struggles you want to overcome. This medication can help, this therapy can help, yada, yada, see me in another week”.

There’s a big difference. People who show you compassion and accept you are the ones who can help you show compassion to yourself and accept yourself.

Concluding that you’re “broken”, “hopeless”, “ill”, and “sick”, is not acceptance. That’s called learned helplessness.

Take it or leave it.

Give A Spider A Break, Man!

Here’s a little fun-fact about me: I’m terrified of spiders.

A lot of people are, I think. One incident I sat on the edge of my bed watching television. A brown, long-legged and probably harmless arachnid leisurely descended from the ceiling a few centimeters from my face with it’s little stick legs extended and probing outward toward my nose. I screamed and smacked it in hopes it would fly across the room but instead it swung at me with all it’s legs stretched in claw formation ready to clasp its prey and landed somewhere on my body. I screamed again, leapt from my bed, smacked myself to bruises, burst through my door screaming for my parents and slammed into the wall.

Needless to say I did not sleep in my room that night. He had won the battle but not the war.

He was probably like “what’s your problem, bro? I just want to suck your blood, fuck. Can’t a spider get a ‘lil love in this joint?”

I also stay up late and so do they.

One night at 2am I lay in my bed watching South Park and laughing my ass off as usual until something black tickles the corner of my eye. I stared behind the area of my television and there’s this thick black dot the size of a United States Fifty Cent piece crawling from underneath my world map. He was planning his world domination tactics; Hitler Reincarnated.

DEVIL SPAWN!!!!!!!

I was frozen. I’ve never seen a spider that large other than ones hanging in webs or just chillin’ on the ground outside. This dude somehow squeezed in my room and decided to harass me.

We stared at each other. I knew he felt my presence because I felt him feeling my presence. He remained stationary. The whistler band from the old Clint Eastwood movies peered around the corner of my door and whistled the signature tune as I crawled towards this beastly bastard, heart thumping, neck sweating, mind racing. His leg twitched. I grew rigid. He turned. My bones ached. He breathed, I breathed, he stared, I stared, and for a few minutes we raced through time together at the same speed, in the same direction, until my balls dropped and I gained the confidence to raise myself eye to eye with him. My teeth chattered so I clenched them; he could smell cowardice.

I fell backwards as he flew towards the corner of the room. There he scrunched, confident in his defense but insecure in my offense, and I stood confident in neither my defense or offense. At such an hour I couldn’t wake my parents so I sat on the edge of my bed with one eye on Comedy Central and the other on the mass cowering in the corner. Our standoff lasted until sunrise. My father squished him dead.

I always feel a mix of sorrow and relief. If we would have had means to pick him up and put him outside, we would have, but him being so scrunched in the corner and so large, neither of us were going to make an attempt.

I took every item out of my room that day, including my bed, until the floor was spotless, the closet was uncluttered, and every nook or cranny had been vacuumed out.

There isn’t a moment in my life where I don’t remember being disturbed by spiders. It’s the legs man, it really is. They’re so . . . reachy, you know? They just probe around like they own the place. That’s what makes the alien things in the movie Alien so terrifying when they launch their bodies around people’s faces: it’s the legs!!!

In nature, I think they’re fascinating creatures. I could spend countless hours watching them spin their webs and catch their prey and suck the life from them; it’s such a pleasing experience. It was the one thing I set out on a mission to find yesterday when I went for my walk with my camera. That’s something I would love to have in a single, still frame; just a spider in it’s natural habitat, the thing I fear the most at it’s most comfortable and perhaps most vulnerable. It takes away some of my fear. They’re just trying to live as much as I am.

But, you know, I don’t go crawling up people’s walls and flopping around in their face.

It’s alright. They don’t know any better, they just want some food. Next time maybe I’ll feed one a snack.

I guess if I wanted food enough, I’d scare the shit out of people by descending from the ceiling on their faces and flopping around speaking in tongues. They’ll be out of the house so fast I could just raid their kitchen cabinets. Kind of like:

I walked through all those trees, all those paths, and didn’t find one damn spider in one damn web doing one damn thing. All there was were squirrels trying to ambush me with tree branches. I was disappointed. Until I stared through all eighty of my photos piece by piece and found something amazing. I cropped it out of the larger photo and this is what I found:

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Do you see the little guy? Click on the photo; he’s at the top!

YES, I GOT ONE BY COMPLETE ACCIDENT.

He’s tiny, but he’s cute, and I was so ecstatic when I found him my parents didn’t understand what was wrong with me. I exaggerate everything, remember?

So I say suck it spiders, I caught one of you even though I know you were all hiding from me on purpose. Got you.

I shall name him Vex.

Why? Because fuck it, that’s why.

My next theme will be cityscape, I think. Something to do with cities. Buildings. Signs. Something like that. I’ve never had the opportunity to do something like that before, so I’m going to try it.

I’m going to look like a lost tourist taking pictures of random shit, but screw it.

One guy tried taking a picture of a swim center sign yesterday with his iphone. He couldn’t get it right I guess, because he took about three or four. It’s just a giant concrete slab in some dirt that says “Simpkins Family Swim Center”. It’s dirty as hell and unimaginative. But he wanted a picture. If I hadn’t been dressed so horribly with my hair all over the place, I would have walked up all professional like and charged him ten dollars to take a picture of the stupid fucking sign for him. Probably a tourist who spent so much money to come over here he didn’t have enough for a camera.

At any rate, as you can tell I’m having a lot of fun with my new hobby. My psychologist had suggested that perhaps some of my depression is related to the fact that I don’t do anything. I laughed because of the sense it made. So I’m trying to do more things, things outside, and that’s why I bought this camera so haphazardly. It’s getting me out of the house ever so slowly. In fact, I think I’ll head over to another field right now just to get some more shots before I switch away from nature for a while.

Every day is a new day. Don’t give up on the future; you haven’t even experienced it yet!

Columbus Sailed The Ocean Blue In 1492 . . . India, You lucked Out.

If you have social anxiety disorder, there’s a very particular phrase that I’m sure teachers and professor alike say that you and I hate equally:

“Feel free to ask any questions”

What does that even . . . mean? How do you feel free to ask a question? If someone has a secret for it, I’d like to know; I’ve been trying to do that for years.

And if you have social anxiety disorder and you’re in college, you’re probably well aware of the fact that you have to talk. If you’re in graduate school, you’ve probably had to do at least one Socratic seminar (I did mock one’s in high school, they sucked ass) and if you’re in sciences, you’ve probably had to work with a group or at least a partner.

If you have social anxiety disorder and you’re in college and you experience any of the aforementioned (or any equivalent), than you probably have a very clear understanding of how hard it can be to speak and think at the same time.

I’ve gotten better since high school, but still encounter moments when I struggle in composing my thoughts and stutter like a first grader trying to read The Odessy by Homer.

Regardless, it’s Thursday night currently and you know what that means: I had my Native American Literature class, so here comes a mess of thoughts.

The thing about this class is the very feeling of it encourages participation. In grade school dread always washed through me when I heard that word. It still does, I just choose to ignore it. The same goes for the phrase “Well, here’s what we’re going to do” and “this should be fun”. Both of those phrases are notorious for preceding a group activity or class-wide participation that would torture me for an hour or so.

But my professor in this class never uttered the words “participation”, although we often break into smaller groups for discussion and then discuss as a whole class. Now I’m not thrusting my hand in the air and being a know it all like I could be, but if I got randomly called on I can tell my anxiety would be lower than usual. The aura of the class demands respect, it encourages it, and it nourishes it. Even when I get people staring at me I can more easily brush it away. Because whether or not they think I’ve said something stupid or think I look stupid or sound stupid or whatever, the aura of the class squanders whatever power they might put in their judgement.

Whenever we finish a paper, about every other week (the class is only once a week for three hours), we form groups and read them allowed. Mind you, this takes a while as each paper is 7 pages plus. One girl kept staring at me. We were all in a circle. She sat across from me, started writing in her notebook, and rested her chin on her hand and directed her eyeballs right at me. I’m not joking. Then she started writing again. Now, I’m not paranoid but . . . the fuck you writing about me?

Anyway, I let it slide. I read my paper last, of course, and all the other groups had already finished. The professor started wandering around telling them that I “have some great things to say” and that they should listen to me too. So he had me start over reading my paper aloud to my group of four (not including me) and another group of five. Then, I heard the shuffle of other footsteps. The rest of the class ( a huge group that was reading outside) came in and were instructed to listen as well. So I basically read my eight page paper to the entire class.

I don’t mind that at all; reading my words off a paper is easier than trying to explain my thoughts orally. If anything, I take it as a huge compliment. If there’s one thing us people with Social anxiety disorder think, it’s that what we say is irrelevant, that what we say is dumb and no one would ever care to listen. Whether these people were forced to listen or not didn’t matter to me; the fact that the professor acknowledged my words only reminds me my thoughts are valid. That’s something I’ve never experienced in a class setting.

I’ve had teachers compliment my writing, that’s nothing new, but to have it shared in a community like setting, and for it to be appreciated–that’s something they don’t stress in public education very often. Not here, at least.

And don’t you even worry about it; if you’ve been reading my posts for a while you know I’m very outspoken about mental health and when I can find a way to weave our struggles into something available to the general public, I do it. And I did it tonight. There were a few pieces we read that used “schizophrenic” as a way to describe the split mind of America, which is really one of my pet peeves. Of course, the use of the term was relevant in this woman’s book so I didn’t argue it. Instead, I transformed the metaphor she used and manipulated the words with a real life example that reminded whoever the reader (or listener) of my paper was, that this disorder isn’t just a word.

I talked about my own struggles too. Afterwards a woman came up to me and thanked me for writing those struggles, as she’d experienced much of the same in her life. And as I walked to my car I realized how often people stay silent about mental health just as they stay silent about Native Americans. And I realized I’ve never been ashamed of my anxiety, of my depression, of my twisted way of thinking, unless people gave me a reason to be. Even as I read my paper, I got a queasy feeling in my stomach–because, shit, they’re going to start thinking I’m crazy.

Why is it taboo to talk about this? Why are we getting messages that we should be ashamed of how we act, that we need to fix who we are with all these treatments, with all these methods?

All I have to say to that, is this: Get the fuck up out of here with that shit before I fix your face; it’s looking a little stupid.

My professor told a story of a friend of his who is Apache and how he applied to a Christian University to get his degree to be a drug and alcohol counselor. The board woman loved his record and wanted him to attend but said . . . “well, you have to be Christian to go here.”

He said, “I’m not Christian; I’m Apache.”

She said, “Well, why don’t you go pray to your deities and see what they think about you converting to Christianity while you’re coming to our university.”

He said, “Okay.”

He went and he prayed and he came back. He said, “I prayed. I am who I am. I can’t do what you asked of me.” He continued with “Now since I did that, I want you to go home and pray and I want you to see what Jesus Christ would say about me attending this University.”

She said, “Okay.”

She went home and she prayed.

She called him and she said, “You’re accepted”. And she approached him and said “Thank you, young man, for reminding me what it means to be a good Christian.”

Whether you’re religious or not, It doesn’t matter. The point of this is you are who you are. And anyone telling you otherwise, anyone making you into something otherwise, or anyone making you feel like you should be otherwise, isn’t worth your time. That includes aspects of society. That includes the drug companies telling you a drug will make you normal.

Normal is who you are. That’s normal for you.

Sure, I want to be a little more at ease around people, I don’t want to be depressed; there’s a lot of things I want to improve in my brain. But that’s just it: I want to improve it, not change it. I don’t need to change it. I don’t need to be a social butterfly. I don’t need to be some happy freak skipping down the sidewalk. I need to be whoever I am.

The same man applied for a drug counseling job on a reservation. They loved him. When they asked for his card (You have to have a card to be considered truly Native American to the U.S government) he said he did not have one. They said he needed one. He said he will never get one. They went back and forth for a while. He told them “are you free people or are you dictated by the laws of the government?”

Reservations are supposed to be a sanctuary where people are free to live how they have for thousands upon thousands of years on this continent. Yes, thousands of years. If you live in America, millions of people stood where you stand before the year 1492.They kept it clean, proliferating with vegetation, and otherwise untarnished. Appreciate that fact.

Anyway, they wouldn’t hire him.

Two months later they had reconsidered and called him for the job.

Be who you are whether someone agrees or not. You have the right to stand up for yourself and in standing up for yourself, you’re standing up for all of those who struggle with you.

P.S: Just to be clear, I’m not saying run around in a murderous rampage after you flush your medication down the toilet, I’m saying be proud that you have the right to run around in a murderous rampage after you flush your medication down the toilet.

They tell you that you don’t have that right, but you do.

Doesn’t mean you should.

Don’t murder people.

It’s not nice.

Positive Eyes in Negative Light

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When we struggle in life we tend to focus on the magnitude of the negative rather than the possibilities of the positive. When we feel confused, we think about how confused we are; when we feel hopeless, we think about how hopeless we are, but when we’re joyful do we ever pay attention to that feeling? Do we ever think about how wonderful it feels to be happy instead of the looming idea that we’re going to feel bad again? When we feel bad, do we ever tell ourselves we’re going to feel happy again?

Don’t double standard yourself. A positive feeling is simple: the opposite of a negative feeling. I don’t practice “pushing” negative thoughts from my mind, I let them come and I feel them and I acknowledge them and then I think the opposite. For example, if I wake up thinking today is going to be horrible and the usual list of why streams behind my eyes, I don’t analyze it or try to disprove it because, hey, all those horrible things could happen. Instead, I think the opposite: today is going to be good. I list the reasons why. Once again, I don’t try to approve of it or disapprove of it, I just let it be. The point isn’t to make yourself think positive–you don’t make yourself feel negative on purpose, do you? The point is to make those positive thoughts as free flowing as the negative ones seem to be. As much as people hate to hear it, negative thinking is indeed a habit. We’re not breaking the habit (have you ever been around people who are constantly happy? There’s something wrong with them man, straight up), we’re giving it a friend.

There is a huge difference between negative thinking and depression, I certainly understand this. However, hearing a positive thought once in a while from yourself at the same magnitude as you hear negative thoughts from yourself may very well help improve depression. Thoughts influence neurotransmitters, neurotransmitters influence thoughts; it’s all one big cycle that you can manipulate for yourself if you so choose.

I think the biggest mistake people make is trying to get themselves to stop thinking. It’s a quick fix, for sure. In that case, pop a couple Haloperidol and you’ll stop thinking real quick. But thinking got you in this mess, thinking can get you out of it. Quick fixes don’t exist; they’re a myth, a legend, a wish. We as a country adore individualism and we advocate hard work to obtain what you want in life (regardless of obvious sociological issues with this creed) and yet we’re told a little pill could fix our worries without any work. I’m disgruntled by the fact that so many people are placed on anti-depressants, and that so many get it from their General Practitioner, and even more so that therapy is not partnered with their medication. Perhaps if they went into talk therapy they’d see they don’t need the medication at all (a valid reason for pharmaceutical companies to never, ever, ever promote such a thing). Millions of Americans alone are on antidepressants. What are the chances all those people are actually depressed to the point of needing drastic medication treatment? If I’m wrong, and every one of those people are clinically depressed then hell, why is depression still considered a disorder? They might as well consider it “normal”. The same could go for ADHD and even Anxiety.

I’m ultimately disgusted in every way possibly by the lack of therapy for those with psychotic disorders. Perhaps some of them do need medication to stay in our reality but that doesn’t mean they’re not frustrated and unhappy with the fact that they just got labeled with a “disorder”, with it’s stereotypes, and with its “lifetime prevalence” percentage. They could use some positivity in their lives. If they’re depressed, it’s probably not a part of their other illness but it probably is a product of it. It can’t always be solved by medications for the first illness. Yes, I believe comorbid diagnosis exists; however. that does not mean we pile medications onto the person for five different disorders. The definition of comorbitiy states each diagnosis must be independent of each other, but let’s be honest here people–how much of that is true? Just another medication scam, in my opinion.

Not to mention it’s all subjective: comorbitity to one psychiatrist may be different to another. There criteria of course, but maybe their client didn’t specify things correctly. Maybe the psychiatrist didn’t understand them correctly. So what’s the point of diagnosis if the diagnosis itself is subjective?

*Takes a deep breath* The system is torn. It’s battered, beaten, misused, abused, hopeless, whatever word you want to use for it. But that doesn’t mean the clients in the system have to suffer. Doctors are wonderful people. Most of their hearts are in the right place, but a lot of them are sheep. You don’t have to be a sheep. There are ways you can help yourself and one way of doing that is changing how you think about yourself and how you think about others. Write a positive thought down each day in a journal or a blog. It doesn’t even have to be about you, it could be about anything! Have goals for yourself. Give yourself a reason to wake up in the morning. Give yourself a reason to get a good sleep the next night. Give yourself a reason to take care of your health. And most importantly, your disorder is not a disorder, it’s a part of you and that’s a fact. Embrace the parts of it you can, improve the parts of it you can’t, but most of all don’t ever fight it. Leave that kind of internal warfare to politics.