Neurology, The Side Chick

With the intention of speaking words of the otherworldly, I opened this page and now have lost sight of my original motivation.

So I’ll just let the words flow like water.

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Today I had conversations filled with self-acceptance, Dr. Dre, Greek Gods and Goddesses, George Washington, free-style rap, the energy in your pancreas, and meditation. Were I able to repeat the actual words of the conversation, I wouldn’t want to. They were personal and private.

What is this thing call self-acceptance after all? Is it some mysterious being that makes you happy with yourself? Or is it the act of being happy with yourself even when you’re not happy? Is it the act of feeling your emotions without stuffing them away? Seems to me you can’t accept who you are if you’re constantly stuffing away your thoughts, your feelings, and yourself deeper and deeper until they’re gone completely–that’s self-deprivation, a form of self mutilation, if you ask me. Your emotions, your moods, they’re there for a reason, and the reason isn’t to be ignore. It isn’t to be stuffed down or waived away as a defect of your mind. They’re there to remind you of how human you really are.

If you stuff away your humanity, well, no wonder life becomes so miserable.

Granted, I’m not a human. But that’s another story for another time.

I’ve lost my sarcastic spark recently because, if you all remember, a lot of my sarcasm revolved around my own personal anger issues and my fiery hatred for the mental health industry. I mistook it for passion, I really did. I mistook it so easily for passion, it scares me.

That hatred had been sutured on my soul. I never took for granted a moment I could trash talk Big Pharma, psych hospitals, or psychiatrists who prescribe one year old’s Risperdal to parents who couldn’t even spell the word if their life depended on it. But that hatred has long dissipated. In fact, it’s fallen away, rotten and diseased, like a rejected skin graft.

I’ve lost my passion for psychiatry, because it was never about psychiatry. I just wanted to be around the people who dealt with the same kinds of things I did, and I knew being a psychiatrist you often dealt with people who had “odd” beliefs, who heard voices or struggled with trust issues in this reality and others, mood issues, e.t.c.

I do that now. What the hell do I need psychiatry for?

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Me In College

I didn’t expect for me to lose interest so quickly in something I’ve been studying, literally, since I was fifteen years old. That’s six years. I’ve got so much pharmacology and medication and industry and research knowledge that sometimes I don’t know what to do with it. Now I’m thinking, IF i choose to stay in college, I may go for Neurology.

But one thing is for certain, I can’t stop what I’m doing now.

I know I have many issues I still need to work on. My anxiety is fucking Cthulu, my trust issues are like Jack The Ripper and murders every possibility of having a connection with a hoe who gets near me, and my social skills are dark matter: can’t see it, can’t hear it, not even sure if it exists. Those are the things I’m struggling with. Fuck any voices I hear or things I see, fuck the occult shit, fuck all–all that is normal. I hate the word normal, but I’m using it here because I feel ten times more comfortable with myself when I’m indulged in those things than if I’m outside and fronting against anxiety or trying to blend in with the crowd. THAT shit feels weird. It makes my skin crawl.

I don’t see that as me being broken or sick or “abnormal”. I see it as everyone else being just a little off their rocker too. Who buys clothes just because a rapper has them? Fucking weird dude. You call me weird? You’re copying a multi-million dollar superstar with a cheap knock off, just to look cool in front of your friends. And I’m the one with the problems. Yeah. Right.

Dude. People bought Yeezys. People buy iphones just because they’re iphones. Come ON

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I’ve probably said this before, but I didn’t talk to other kids when I was a kid. I didn’t have friends. So the world in my head, all the talking cars and the personalities I spoke to that helped me become the fiction writer I am today, all that? THAT was my normal, and I never had any reason to feel wrong for it. Me being quiet and reserved and having trouble communicating–that I got scolded for. That I still struggle with feeling wrong and bad about. See the connection?

Imagine if I would have told my teachers the truth, about the feelings I got at night trying to go to bed, the other worldly forces watching me, the characters in my head that spoke to me, that consoled me when I had trouble, that wrote the brilliant things they called “advanced”. Imagine what would have happened to me. The thought makes me shudder.

At this point I”m just babbling. I would like to continue my involvement in peer support. I don’t really want psychiatry anymore. It’s like that one used up hoe you pounded when you were drunk and feeling powerful and then you woke up so close to her you could almost taste the night’s sweat still on her and realized she a rachet-ass, bat-lipped-ass, saggy-titty-ass, stank-breath-ass hoe. That’s psychiatry to me right now.

Peer Support is like the gorgeous girl working as a cashier during the day and attending school at night and taking care of her kid and struggling to survive but understanding that she can make it, so she smiles at you when you set your items on the belt.

Neurology can be the okay-ass side chick, I suppose.

I wonder how long it’s been since I used the term mental disorder and actually meant it? It’s been a long time. It feels good to have that removed from my tongue. It was starting to leave a stale taste in my mouth.

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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?

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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.

Greater Than A Label And Smarter Than One Too

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I received messages from people yesterday who were shocked that I wasn’t celebrating New Years, that I didn’t go to a party or celebrate 12:00am by screaming, hugging people, and saying Happy New Year to everyone I came across.

I responded with shock at their shock. This was one of the best New Years Eve’s I’ve had in a long while. And I spent the majority of it alone. 

 

2015 was not a satisfying year. Probably because I can’t remember half of it.

I forget a lot, remember?

I don’t know what 2016 will be like. Prediction is not a science. Science isn’t even good at being science half the time, so if prediction was science it would be one and a half times worse than science originally was. Like my bullshit numbers there? It’s okay, just breathe, your brain will recover from my awesomeness in a moment.

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Recovered? Good.

2015 unearthed a lot of issues in America we’ve left swept under the rug. Racism is the big one. Healthcare is another. Mental healthcare and mental health is right up there with them. All those shooters, all the stigma, all the panic, all the politicians sticking their little rat noses into business that isn’t theirs to control, issues they don’t even understand. The day a neuroscientist runs for presidency without the slightest bit of knowledge of politics is the day we need to rethink our healthcare system in this country. The day money dictates the kind of mental health treatment you get is the day we need to rethink our entire lives as human beings.

Oh, what’s that? Hold on, I’m getting some word from my producers right now. We . . . we have all that already? Hmm. Well . . . shit. 

Then we need to rethink the entirety of our lives.

That’s a lot to process and it’ll never happen, so let’s just rethink the healthcare system for starters.

 

If 2015 unearthed all this, 2016 better come along and flip it to the top of the soil before it gets buried again.

I believe one of the major issues we’re having in this country is lack of involvement.

aaeaaqaaaaaaaauhaaaajgy4mte4ntizlwjkmtutndk2oc04mzbmlwzknmqynjlizwyzmgI think that’s one of the major reasons people like Alex Gorsky a.k.a “America’s most admired Law Breaker” got awarded that “man of integrity” bullshit in September. You all remember him right? Responsible for the marketing scheme of Risperdal? The one who snuck through FDA loopholes to get Risperdal marketed to children and elders? The C.E.O of Johnson and Johnson? The one who got caught and had to pay back 2 billion dollars as “punishment”? The one whose team wanted to put lollipops and candy in “trial” packages of Risperdal for kids? The one I had so much fun talking shit about here and the one who is described in a little more proper detail by The New York Times here?

There’s a prime example of the main issue not being the drug, but a corporation embracing their typical sociopathic selves. 

I could never write articles on people like that for big time news websites. How are those writers able to keep their composure? I’d have to slander some names and point out some stupidity with harsh sarcasm. That’s how my brain operates.

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People learn from the emotions they feel, from their reactions. If I get a disgusted feeling or a laugh or some anger out of someone, they’re more likely to remember the subject than if I just rambled off some facts like a school girl know it all.

People like Gorsky get away with things because citizens like us are misinformed and uneducated.

It’s why there are published articles about how published research findings are often false. Don’t believe me? Read it here.

It’s why the figure of speech known as “chemical imbalance” has been so widely accepted as a proper way to describe a mental disorder. Hey, I didn’t come up with that on my own, that’s from Harvard Med.

I also agree that “much of the general public seems to have accepted the chemical imbalance hypothesis uncritically”.

trust-me-doc It’s all accepted because people often don’t take charge of their own recovery. Obviously some need more help than others and obviously some respond to certain kinds of treatment better than others–there’s never a black and white, the entire world is a grey area. Everyone is different.

That’s not an excuse to be completely clueless. 

If you’re going to do anything in 2016, get involved. Don’t just be part of your own mental health recovery, advocate for others as well, and that means becoming active in your recovery. That means learning a little more about psychology and the psychological system and not letting those rude doctors we’ve all come across at some point drop bombs in your lap like you’re some disordered freak.

Reevaluate what an “illness” is to you. Reevaluate what a “disorder” or “brain disease” is to you. I know quite a bit about depression from experience and from schooling knowledge and I’ll tell you one fucking thing it isn’t: disease. So if people could kindly stop saying that, it would really, really drop my blood pressure a few points.

stop-being-ashamedStigma is a good way of keeping us ashamed of ourselves. You probably don’t feel comfortable blurting a diagnosis in your work place or to certain friends or maybe even to family members. But remember, your diagnosis is only as harmful as you let it be. A word is a word. It’s up to others to see you differently because of it. And if they do . . . Will. That. Kill. You? Be logical here. Is it Ebola? 

When we cower in the shadows behind what other people tell us we are, when we let ourselves be drowned out by several different labels–talking about the people who say “yeah, I’ve got ADHD, depression, Bipolar 2, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Agoraphobia, Borderline Personality, Narcissistic tendencies, and Schizoid tendencies”–our recovery will be inexplicably harder.

I didn’t make that diagnosis up by the way, I’ve talked with people who gave me that exact line up. It confused me greatly.

You must have one interesting psychologist or psychiatrist to give you that many diagnoses. Or many.

Or your self-diagnosing.

I’m a psych student with a copy of the DSM-V and a lot of criterion memorized. By that account, I’m more qualified than the average citizen to diagnose myself. But I don’t.

4c128dd9169c5db3c7dcf90905137ae4Feeding the thoughts of being “sick” and “ill” and having something “Wrong” with you because you struggle with your mental health is called “self-stigmatizing”. Believe it or not, that contributes to public stigmatizing too–you’re acting exactly how they expect you to.

Meanwhile, Gorsky is up in his Country Club Prison suite rolling in the rest of his billions of dollars and jacking it to pictures of kids with Risperdal lollipops in their hands and uncontrollable drool dripping from their mouths.

Why do I focus on the negative things?

Why not? Why should I focus on the positive things?

Those things are already positive, they don’t need to be changed or rearranged; they’re good how they are.

If your right leg is broken, you want me to examine your left leg? Want me to put a cast on it and send you out the door?

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Focusing on the positive things in your life to make you hopeful? Good.

Focusing on the positive things in the industry to distract you from the major areas that are cracked and going to hell? Bad.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, these are things you need to know about it because you’re involved in it.

We have the power to walk into a doctor’s office and demand the treatment we want.

We have the right to be educated.

We have the right to be seen in better light.

We have the right to never be ashamed to mention “oh yeah, I suffer from depression” or anxiety, or anorexia, or bipolar, or schizophrenia, or “covert narcissistic tendencies with a hint of borderline” if you really want to fucking get that technical. 

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We have the right to be informed mental disorders are much more complicated than a “chemical imbalance”.

We have the right to be informed mental disorders are much more complicated than merely “psychological factors”.

We have the right to be informed on other treatment options with as much emphasis as is given to medication treatment options.

We are not merely test subjects. We’re also human. Be truthful to us. Say, “this drug works on serotonin and a few studies involving about twenty people, some of whom dropped out because of side effects, showed significant improvement”.

We have the right to depend on medication if we need to without being seen in a negative light.

We have the right to stand up for ourselves.

We’re not sick or abnormal or ill or disordered or diseased or incapable of anything. We’re not a label or a diagnostic criteria. We struggle and we survive just like every person, plant, or organism does on this planet.

We’re unique, we’re individual, but we’re not so different from everyone else.

This year make strides in your own life to improve your mental health and the world’s mental health. Misconceptions will be the death of us all.